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Educational & Scientific, LLC and University of Maryland, Baltimore Expand Relationship Through Licensing Agreement to Develop Novel Prostate Cancer Treatment

Monday, December 17, 2018

  • University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) startup company is the first in recent history to license two potential oncology treatment technologies from the University
  • Innovative molecule may offer potential treatment option for individuals with prostate cancer resistant to traditional treatment

BALTIMORE, MD, DECEMBER 17, 2018 – University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Educational & Scientific, LLC (ESL) announced today that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has again granted ESL an exclusive license for a novel cancer treatment. This agreement focuses on the development of Galeterone, a molecule with the potential to inhibit prostate cancer growth in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Galeterone is a steroidal antiandrogen that acts by disrupting the androgen receptor signaling pathway, which is the primary pathway that drives prostate cancer growth.

Vincent C.O. Njar, PhD, lead inventor, professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacology in the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Department of Pharmacology and head of the Medicinal Chemistry Section, Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics (CBT), Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (IBBR) and the late Angela Brodie, PhD (co-inventor), professor emeritus in the UMSOM Department of Pharmacology, developed the molecule as a potential therapeutic agent. 

“The unique collaboration between Dr. Njar and Dr. Lowe, the founder of ESL, is a great example of how we can combine basic science with new potential therapies to treat cancer,” said E. Albert Reece, executive vice president for medical affairs, UMB, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers distinguished professor and dean, UMSOM.  “The long-standing research of these two internationally-recognized scientists could bring promising results in this new commercial venture.”

The molecule has successfully gone through Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials in patients with CRPC, and ESL plans to initiate a global multi-center Phase 3 clinical trial at the end of 2019. Dr. Njar recently presented data for Galeterone at the "Cutting Edge Advances in Cancer Therapy" seminar earlier this month, at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus in Jamaica.

“We are pleased to broaden our oncology portfolio with this exciting molecule and are even more pleased to be advancing a treatment that could help prostate cancer patients who presently have limited therapeutic options,” said Henry Lowe, PhD, DSc, FRSH, an adjunct professor of medicine at UMSOM and the founder of ESL. “This license agreement – the second granted to ESL by UMB – reflects the potential of innovative science and the value of technology transfer partnerships.” 

“We are delighted that ESL has licensed its second cancer therapeutic candidate from UMB. The growing collaboration between UMB and ESL has the potential to significantly improve outcomes for cancer patients,” commented Jim Hughes, chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president, UMB, and director of UM Ventures, Baltimore.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), in the United States, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among men other than skin cancer. The ACS estimates that in the United States alone during 2018, approximately 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed, and approximately 29,430 men will die from the disease. About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men, especially those of African descent.

ESL is a UMB startup company that was first launched with an exclusive license to develop and commercialize a promising anti-cancer technology derived from the Jamaican plant Tillandsia recurvata (more commonly known as “Ball Moss”). Dr. Lowe, executive chairman, ESL, Ngeh J. Toyang, PhD, chief executive officer, ESL, and Joseph Bryant, DVM, retired associate professor of pathology, UMSOM and director, animal models division, UMSOM Institute of Human Virology, are the co-inventors of the “Ball Moss” technology. ESL will continue to examine Jamaica’s medicinal plants for potential therapeutic purposes and hopes to bring more novel treatments into the pipeline. 

About Educational & Scientific, LLC
Educational & Scientific, LLC (ESL) is a commercial venture established by Dr. Henry Lowe to conduct further research and development of medicinal plant isolates for the development of new pharmaceutical and “nutraceutical” products. ESL is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. 

About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, and by providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners, UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets, and more startup ventures. Visit http://umventures.org to learn more.

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Media contact:
Juliette Bogus for UM Ventures
juliettebogus@presscommpr.com
410.980.5687