12:00 AM
Jun 13, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Cyterix: CYPing on prodrugs

Cyterix prodrug technology activated only by tumor-specific enzyme

Current prodrug technologies for cancer either cannot discriminate between healthy and tumor cells, and thus become active in both cell types, or are activated only in specific cells within solid tumors. Cyterix Pharmaceuticals Inc. believes the prodrugs developed with its OncoCYP technology will allow for activation only in cancer cells, while also targeting a range of solid tumors.

The biotech has two programs in preclinical development, and expects the $9.2 million series A round it raised last week will get at least one program into Phase I.

According to co-founder, President and CEO Steven Everett, traditional prodrug approaches have focused on improving drug absorption and bioavailability rather than selectively targeting tumor cells. The result is that the toxin often is activated prior to reaching the cancer cells, causing toxicity and reducing efficacy.

Other technologies are activated only in specific regions of the tumor. For example, Proacta Inc. and Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc. are developing hypoxia-activated prodrugs (HAPs) that are activated only in cells located deep...

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