Lung cancer is diagnosed in over 220,000 patients in the U.S. every year, and results in more cancer deaths than breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers combined. If detected at an early-stage, lung cancer can be treated using standard of care surgery. Most of these patients treated with surgery have reduced lung function and surgeons would prefer to remove less lung tissue from around the margins of the tumor rather than compromising the patient’s lung function further. However, the smaller the margin removed from around the tumor, the higher the risk of recurrent disease. Systemic chemotherapy and radiation therapies are not effective for early stage patients and have significant negative side effects. Unfortunately, even with the best available treatment, about half of the 50,000 early stage patients treated annually with surgery, will develop a fatal recurrence. Clinician and patients are desirous of new and more effective localized, low toxicity treatment options which can prevent cancer recurrence.
Founded in 2008, AcuityBio started as a collaborative effort by Boston University’s Dr. Mark Grinstaff (Professor of Chemistry) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Dr. Yolanda Colson (Cardiothoracic oncology Surgeon and Scientist) to improve the current standard of care for lung cancer patients and address the major clinical problem of tumor recurrence. Their goal was to create a unique and simple-to-use drug-loaded implant that could reduce cancer recurrence by locally delivering therapeutic levels of drug to residual tumor cells for extended periods of time. Utilizing Colson’s experience in surgical oncology and Grinstaff’s knowledge in polymer chemistry and engineering, the team developed the ABC MeshTM. Together with Jesse Wolinsky, a post-doctoral researcher in Grinstaff’s lab, the team published several papers on the technology in March of 2010. A few months later, First Founders Ltd. introduced Dr. Jay Schwartz to the inventor team to act as the new company’s CEO. AcuityBio’s biocompatible and biodegradable ABC MeshTM will be stapled in at the edge of the resection during normal tumor removal surgery and deliver chemotherapeutic drug locally to the tissue over 50 days and then be absorbed by the body. By localizing the administration of chemotherapeutic agent, the optimal dose of drug can be delivered over a time span where it will be most effective and result in little to no side effects. The ABC MeshTM technology has come a long way from its inception and will be headed to the clinic within two years.
“The technology we developed allows us to deliver drug right to the resection site,” says Mark Grinstaff, “Currently, there is no such standard of care that exists today. It all comes down to whether you can prevent the cancer from recurring. If you can reduce recurrence then you can increase survival, and that’s what we’re working towards.”
The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health recently awarded AcuityBio with a prestigious Phase II SBIR grant worth $1.4M, which will fund the rest of the preclinical work required to apply to the FDA for an IND, a prerequisite for entering clinical trials. AcuityBio is now raising a $3.5M series ‘A’ round which will further help accelerate their technical development and commercialization plans.
“The value of this grant goes way beyond the monetary value in two ways” says Jay Schwartz, CEO. “This grant money will help us accelerate our ABC MeshTM development plans and simultaneously validates the novelty of our technical approach to localized drug delivery. We are pleased that we are continuing to progress rapidly toward helping cancer patients live better quality and longer lives. “
AcuityBio, Inc. is headquartered in the Greater Boston area.
Please see the company website www.acuitybio.com, or contact Jay Schwartz CEO (email@example.com) for further information.