ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--New Mexico-based SolaranRx, Inc., and STC.UNM have signed an exclusive option agreement for a novel technology platform for treating metastatic melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. The technology shows promise as personalized medicine, providing a targeted, safe and cost-effective treatment for advanced melanoma.
Developed by Dr. Yubin Miao, associate professor in the Departments of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dermatology at the University of New Mexico (UNM), the technology includes novel radiolabeled peptides that target a receptor selectively overexpressed on melanoma cells. Tumor metastasis can thus be imaged to identify and treat patients using the peptide technology combined with commercially available radionuclides. Dr. Miao explains, “Therapy and diagnostics are merged with the technology, creating a unique theranostic platform for metastatic melanoma.”
Skin cancers are the most commonly diagnosed cancers in the United States. Although melanoma accounts for 75 percent of all skin cancer-related deaths, it represents less than five percent of diagnosed skin cancers. Nearly one million Americans are afflicted with melanoma. There is no known curative treatment once the melanoma spreads or metastasizes. Current treatment options have serious, sometimes fatal, side effects and often benefit only a limited number of patients at great cost. There is a significant unmet need for alternative treatments.
The science behind SolaranRx’s newly optioned platform is powerful. The peptide technology demonstrates highly specific binding to melanoma cells, targeting the melanocortin-1 receptor present in about 80 percent of human metastatic melanoma samples. The peptide can carry an imaging or therapeutic radionuclide, allowing physicians to select patients for treatment, deliver targeted radiation and visualize patient response.
Commenting on the agreement, SolaranRx CEO and Co-founder Les Stewart said, “Securing this exclusive option is the first step toward commercializing a potentially powerful new tool in the fight against metastatic melanoma. Dr. Miao’s research demonstrates proof of concept in targeting metastatic melanoma in well-established mouse models. Our next milestone is to show clinical proof of concept in human patients.”
STC.UNM CEO Lisa Kuuttila is pleased with the SolaranRx agreement. “This technology has potential to be an effective way to treat a disease that is deadly if not caught in its early stages. SolaranRx’s management team has a wealth of experience bringing promising technologies to patients. We will strongly support their commercialization efforts.”
The research behind the peptide technology was supported in part by gap funding from the Gap Fund @ UNM program, which helped to advance the invention from research to a commercialization partnership.
About SolaranRx, Inc.
SolaranRx, Inc. is developing a platform of new therapies and companion imaging agents for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. This merger between therapeutics and diagnostics—often referred to as theranostics—constitutes a new level of personalized medicine for treating advanced melanoma. SolaranRx seeks to improve treatment and patients’ quality of life via a proprietary peptide technology platform, giving new options to clinicians and hope to patients.