12:00 AM
 | 
Jun 02, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Transmolecular: Brain storm on cancer

Treatments for primary glioma rely on highly invasive surgeries and intensive radiation and chemotherapy. Recurrence after initial therapy is seen in about 98% of patients, and median survival after recurrence for high-grade gliomas is only two to four months. Further complicating the matter is that glioma-specific detection methods are invasive.
Transmolecular Inc. is opportunistically entering this space, based on a serendipitous discovery by co-founder Harald Sontheimer. In his lab at the University of Alabama, Sontheimer found the ion channel probe he was using to study cell transport in the brain was actually binding to tumor cells better than ion channel receptors.
The probe is a synthetic form of chlorotoxin, a neurotoxin made by scorpions that is lethal to invertebrates but equates to a bee sting for humans. Sontheimer co-founded Transmolecular to develop therapeutics and imaging agents based on the synthetic peptide, with an initial focus on brain cancer.
According to CEO Matthew Gonda, one advantage is the compound's size: about 250 µg, the size of four grains of salt....

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