Start­up with Johns Hop­kins roots rais­ing $40.5 mil­lion to de­vel­op can­cer me­tab­o­lism drugs

A new on­col­o­gy com­pa­ny spun out of Johns Hop­kins School of Med­i­cine is rais­ing up to $40.5 mil­lion to de­vel­op its plat­form of an­ti­cancer ther­a­pies.

The start­up, found­ed just a year ago, is called Dra­cen Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, and its tech is based on work by Bar­bara Slush­er, a pro­fes­sor of neu­rol­o­gy, and Jonathan Pow­ell, a pro­fes­sor of on­col­o­gy at Johns Hop­kins School of Med­i­cine.

The re­searchers al­tered the struc­ture of an ex­per­i­men­tal drug that en­hanced its abil­i­ty to slip through the blood-brain bar­ri­er. Their re­search was pub­lished in Au­gust 2016 in the Jour­nal of Med­i­c­i­nal Chem­istry, which showed in an­i­mal stud­ies that the al­tered drug struc­ture re­sult­ed in ten times bet­ter drug de­liv­ery to the brains com­pared with the rest of an­i­mals’ bod­ies.

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