Improving cancer drug research technology wins nanotechnology startup $300K grant

R&D pharma spending North Carolina

As innovative new cancer therapies become more advanced and targeted, the tools used in researching and developing them should be improved and innovated too.

Indiana-based Tymora Analytical Operations LLC is doing that by developing nanotechnology-based research products for life sciences R&D. The PolyMAC technology that it commercialized earlier this year could help researchers better assess whether drugs being developed actually hit their targets.

President and chief technology officer Anton Iliuk said some diseases, especially cancer, start from abnormal phosphorylation of proteins. Tymora’s technology aims to enrich and isolate those modified proteins to give researchers a better way to find new targets for drugs. In another application, the technology could potentially help researchers identify whether their drugs are actually hitting their targets and working after prolonged treatment.


“Everyone with the current technology can see the tip of the iceberg, but the most important proteins that are modified exist in very low amounts, so you have to have more sensitivity and specificity,” Iliuk said. “We’re also trying to improve reproducibility of analysis so you can compare different samples to each other.”

The startup has just received a $300,000 SBIR grant from the National Institutes of Health, which it will use to strengthen its PolyMAC product and build on the foundation of the technology to develop new products. Previously, Tymora received at least $320,000 in grants from the NIH and Purdue’s Emerging Innovations Fund.

Founded in 2010 by two research scientists at Purdue University, the startup now calls Purdue Research Park its home. It launched its PolyMAC product earlier this year and is selling to cancer centers, researchers and some life sciences companies, Iliuk said.

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