TaiRx, Inc and BHI have formed TaiRx US, which will be based in Rockville (Montgomery County), Maryland, to develop and commercialize a unique monoclonal antibody with the potential to reverse drug resistance in various tumor types. The company is also working to develop a companion diagnostic to accurately identify those patients who can best benefit from the therapy.
Du-Shieng Chen, Ph.D., President/CEO and Co-Founder of TaiRx Inc, said, “We have found a capable business and R&D partner in BioHealth Innovation. We will provide our extensive expertise and experience in drug product development and support to the new joint venture.”
The antibody under development targets Nodal, a secreted protein found in aggressive tumors and responsible for rapid growth, metastasis and drug resistance. There are no current therapies that inhibit this critical pathway in cancer. Experimental models demonstrate the promise of reversing cancer progression by targeting Nodal.
Mary J. C. Hendrix, Ph.D., formerly President of the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, who now serves as President of Shepherd University, led the research delineating the critical role Nodal plays in cancer. TaiRx licensed the intellectual property around Nodal for global product development.
Dr. Hendrix commented, “It is exciting and humbling to see our laboratory’s work translated into a potential new treatment modality for cancer. We believe that the monoclonal antibody under development could find broad applicability in treating a broad range of otherwise resistant tumors.”
Stephen D. Wolpe, Ph.D., an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at BHI and President and CEO of TaiRx US, said, “It’s an honor to be able to take 12 years of cutting-edge research performed by Dr. Hendrix and her colleagues and develop a plan to advance it clinically for patients in need.”
Richard Bendis, President and CEO of BHI, added, “TaiRx is a great example of our ‘soft landing’ program whereby we enable foreign companies to set up in Maryland and develop their technologies here. We are happy to provide our business expertise and support to TaiRx US.”