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Start-Up Previews (09/2010)

Executive Summary

A preview of the emerging health care companies profiled in the current issue of Start-Up. This month's profile group, "Biotechs Target Cancer Metabolism," features profiles of Advanced Cancer Therapeutics, Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals and Dynamix Pharmaceuticals. Plus these Start-Ups Across Health Care: AlloCure, ArisGen, HistoSonics and NeuraviBiotechnology.

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Dynamix Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Optimization of a lead drug candidate often takes a few years, as companies assess hundreds and sometimes thousands of compounds, seeking just one with the best overall pharmacological profile. By contrast, Dynamix Pharmaceuticals Ltd. says its structure-based discovery approach dubbed DynamixFit has let the firm select lead molecules with less than 100 compounds synthesized in under two years. Dynamix aims to apply its techniques on two main tracks: first, to discover drug candidates that intervene with the metabolism of cancer cells; and second, to selectively target specific cellular signaling pathways mediated by Type II kinase inhibitors.

Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals Inc. is saying little about its lead drug candidate, CPI-613, which entered its first Phase I/II human clinical trial in late 2008, but the company and its backers believe they are developing a potentially game-changing class of new molecules and technology for delivering them. Its Altered Energy Metabolism Directed platform specifically utilizes the difference in cancer cells’ metabolic appetite to facilitate selective delivery of a novel small molecule (CPI-613 being the first example) into the cells’ mitochondria. Similarly the company’s Emulsiphan leverages those same metabolic differences to deliver drugs specifically to the cancer cell cytoplasm.

AlloCure Inc.

There are precious few options for addressing acute kidney injury, a condition that is characterized by a rapid deterioration of kidney function, often occurring in people with certain risk factors and co-morbidities. Some 300,000 to 500,000 people each year in the US suffer from AKI. AlloCure Inc. is developing bone marrow-derived adult stem cells harvested from anonymous donors, and prepared as an off-the-shelf therapy, to prevent and perhaps eventually treat AKI.

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