Dallas biotech startup Dialectic Therapeutics Inc. has announced plans to use a $3 million Seed Award for Product Development Research from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to further develop its lead product candidate, an anti-cancer drug.
Dialectic focuses on creating innovative new technologies to address late-stage difficult cancer diagnoses, according to the company. Dialectic was one of three North Texas startups to receive a $3 million award from CPRIT last week. The others were Barricade Therapeutics Corp. of Fort Worth and Texas Magnetic Imaging Technology Inc. of Dallas. On Dialectic’s website, they describe their mission as: “to relieve the suffering of patients with cancer, to give them hope, and prolong their productive lives through targeted therapies with limited toxicities and complications.”
The startup’s lead product candidate, DT2216, is a unique compound built using proprietary and novel Antiapoptotic Protein Targeted Degradation (APTaD) technology.
Grant expected to speed up clinical evaluation
In pre-clinical studies, DT2216 selectively induces cancer cells to degrade B-cell lymphoma extra large, or BCL-XL. This stimulates the cells to “commit suicide or become more susceptible to chemotherapy,” according to a statement.
Currently, DT2216 is in the Investigational New Drug-enabling phase for use as a single agent or as part of a combination therapy in hematologic cancers. IND-enabling studies are intended to secure approval to conduct the first-in-human clinical trials with a new drug.
“This grant will give us the opportunity to reach clinical relevance faster,” Dr. David Genecov, Dialectic’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “The CPRIT funding will support continued development of our lead candidate, DT2216, which we believe may be a first-in-class anticancer agent targeting BCL-XL, the most commonly over-expressed antiapoptotic protein in cancer.”
Dialectic is comprised of protein degradation experts and leadership with a strong track record of clinical development and commercial success, according to the company.
Dialectic Therapeutics has research partners and facilities at University of Texas Health San Antonio and University of Florida Health.
In 2018, biotech venture investors John Harkey Jr. and Genecov capitalized Dialectic. The two investors are co-founders along with Dr. Robert Hromas, dean of the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio; Dr. Daohong Zhou at University of Florida Health Cancer Center; and Dr. Guangrong Zheng at University of Florida College of Pharmacy.
Genecov is a North Texas biotech industry veteran who serves on the board of CerSci Therapeutics, a Dallas company focused on developing the next wave of drugs for the treatment and prevention of acute and chronic pain, and he is also the co-founder and director of Cessation Therapeutics.
Board chairman Harkey is the founder of Dallas-based JDH Investment Management, which focuses on innovative and impactful opportunities in the biotech industry. He and Genecov co-founded AveXis, which was acquired in 2018 by Novartis for $8.7 billion. Harkey is on the board of CerSci Therapeutics and is the co-founder and CEO of Cessation Therapeutics.
Earlier this month, CPRIT awarded more than $21 million in awards in its latest funding round to North Texas-based researchers and startups.
CPRIT awards help researchers battle cancer
In November 2019, Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment to provide an additional $3 billion to CPRIT for a total $6 billion investment in cancer research and prevention. To date, CPRIT has awarded $2.49 billion in grants to Texas research institutions and organizations through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs.
CPRIT has also recruited 200 distinguished researchers, supported the establishment, expansion, or relocation of 40 companies to Texas, and generated over $4.7 billion in additional public and private investments, according to the organization.
CPRIT’s funding has furthered scientific and clinical knowledge and provided 6.2 million life-saving cancer prevention and early detection services reaching Texas residents from all 254 counties.
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