Rutgers scientists form immuno-oncology biotech to develop pipeline of TAM inhibitors
There are thousands of immuno-oncology therapies in the global pipeline, and researchers from Rutgers are adding to that tally, with a family of compounds that could potentially be used in tandem with established checkpoint inhibitors for a plethora of cancers, as part of a newly formed biotech named TamRx.
Funded by BioMotiv, the for-profit accelerator of The Harrington Project, TamRx’s technology inhibits TAM (Tyro3, Axl, and Mertk), a family of receptor tyrosine kinases implicated in a wide spectrum of human cancers. Elevated TAM signaling is heavily associated with cancer progression, metastasis, and resistance to targeted therapies. TamRx’s inhibitors are designed to thwart tumor growth and metastasis and to stimulate the immune system to enhance its an anti-tumor response, the company said on Thursday.
TamRx currently has three compounds in early-stage development, and it will likely take two to three years to take them into the clinic, a spokesperson for BioMotiv told Endpoints News, adding that BioMotiv plans to support TamRx to advance the compounds through clinical development.
Cancer biologist and drug developer Mark Anderson, who has previously spent over a decade at J&J, is TamRx’s project leader.
Three Rutgers researchers are the scientific founders of the company: Raymond Birge is a professor and vice chair for research in the department of microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology; William Welsh is the Norman H. Edelman professor in bioinformatics at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and also serves as the director of the division of cheminformatics and biomedical informatics at the Rutgers-Cancer Institute; and Youyi Peng is a bioinformatics specialist in the biomedical informatics shared resources at the Rutgers Cancer Institute.