October 15, 2018

Ron DePinho raises funds for cancer research

Tvardi Therapeutics, a biotech co-founded by the former chief of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson  and Diaspora Counselor, has raised $9 million to support clinical trials of an experimental cancer drug developed through research at the medical center.

Ron DePinho, past president of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, co-founded the company with David Tweardy, head of internal medicine at M.D. Anderson, who discovered compounds that can block a molecule, STAT3, that appears to play a key role in the development of cancer.

The Portuguese Counselor says that STAT3 inhibitors might someday be deployed to treat disease other than cancer.

“STAT3 is an important regulator of genes that are integral to cancer,” DePinho, co-founder of Tvardi, said in an interview. “The inhibiting of STAT3 genes has been shown in preclinical models to cause cancer regression, reverse cystic fibrosis, and block inflammation.”

Tvardi executives declined to identify the investors in the company’s  Series A fundraising round. The funds will be used to pay for the completion of the company’s currently ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial for Tvardi’s lead compound, TTI-101, in solid tumor cancers, and for an upcoming Phase 1b trial, DePinho says.

By Xconomy, September 2018