Dr. Scott Kachlany has received a $4.4 million commitment in venture capital to bring a potential therapy for cancer and autoimmune diseases closer to human clinical trials.
Kachlany’s company, Actinobac Biomed Inc., is slated for funding from the California-based Kairos Ventures, which will pay for the final stages of preclinical development before his therapeutic technology, called Leukothera, is tested on humans.
Leukothera is based on Kachlany’s discovery that an oral bacterium which causes periodontal disease can produce a protein that can be used to kill leukemia cells in animals. It’s also a potential therapy for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and HIV infection.
Toxicity tests on animals so far indicate that Leukothera is very well tolerated. “Even at very high doses of the drug, there are no side effects,’’ said Kachlany, a Department of Oral Biology professor.
He plans to use the $4.4 million from Kairos to seek matching NIH funding that will enable Leukothera to be tested on humans with leukemia and lymphoma within the next three years.
Actinobac Biomed Inc. was started with an investment from Foundation Venture Capital Group (FVCG), Inc., an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation (NJHF).
“Rutgers is very excited about this important funding that will allow Actinobac to advance the Leukothera technology toward commercialization,” said S. David Kimball, PhD, associate vice president of Research Commercialization at Rutgers. “This can have major implications for the treatment of blood cancer patients. It also strengthens our relationship with NJHF and Kairos Ventures in our mutual effort to further support university innovation that benefits society.”
Press Contact: Carrie Stetler, Communications Manager, 973-229-8351