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OSU + Michigan + VC firm = Startup to find new treatment for oral cancer

The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan have decided put some rivalry aside and create a company, Sirona Therapeutics, that partnered with Ohio-based Venture Therapeutics. The partnership will form a new company to develop and commercialize new technology to treat precancerous oral lesions. The Ohio State Innovation Foundation and Drug Development Institute and […]

The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan have decided put some rivalry aside and create a company, Sirona Therapeutics, that partnered with Ohio-based Venture Therapeutics. The partnership will form a new company to develop and commercialize new technology to treat precancerous oral lesions.

The Ohio State Innovation Foundation and Drug Development Institute and the University of Michigan licensed the intellectual property to form Sirona Therapeutics, the company that partnered with Venture Therapeutics. The new company’s initial focus will be on a patch to treat the lesions:

Previously published data shows that about 30 percent of the higher grade precancerous oral lesions progress to oral cancer, specifically oral squamous cell carcinoma. This type of cancer is particularly devastating to patients because treatment entails removal of facial and mouth structures essential for esthetics and function. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 42,440 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer and over 8,390 oral cancer related deaths will occur in 2014.

Precancerous oral lesions can be seen and touched by patients, so this easy access to the lesion allows the use of local delivery formulations in an oral patch to directly treat the disease without causing adverse side effects.

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Michael Caligiuri, MD, director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that this kind of academic and industry collaboration is what is takes to develop new cancer treatments.

“Ultimately, these collaborations can be the catalyst for new, more effective cancer treatments, leading to better outcomes, faster responses, fewer side effects and more hope for cancer patients everywhere,” said Caligiuri.

[Image from flickr user Bill Gracey]