A new drug development company founded by three researchers from University of Texas Southwestern and Case Western Reserve University (both TX, USA) has raised US$5.9 million to develop small molecular therapeutics to repair and regenerate tissue. Rodeo Therapeutics (TX, USA) will develop therapeutics that inhibit a prostaglandin-degrading enzyme called 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH), enabling the body to heal damage.
Sanford Markowitz, Professor of Cancer Genetics and Distinguished University Professor, Stanton L. Gerson, Professor of Hematological Oncology and director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (both Case Western Reserve University), and Joseph Ready, professor of biochemistry (University of Texas Southwestern), have previously published research demonstrating that prostaglandins encourage tissue repair by stimulating stem cells.
“Inflammatory diseases often result in serious tissue damage and impairment,” explained Gerson. “We have developed a drug [15-PGDH] that has stimulated tissue regeneration, repairing damage to the colon, liver, and bone marrow in animal models, paving the way to apply our findings to human diseases.”
Research at Rodeo Therapeutics will focus on developing therapeutics that increase tissue levels of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), which has been demonstrated to support production of a range of cells. 15-PGDH has been shown to degrade PGE2 and that more PGE2 is produced when 15-PGDH is inhibited. Following searches in databases of known chemicals, one–SW033291–was shown to incapacitate 15-PGDH at levels of one part per billion and accelerate healing in a murine model.
This round of funding will enable Rodeo Therapeutics to conduct trials to demonstrate the safety of SW033291-related small molecules in larger animals, paving the way for an eventual human trial. The first target will be inflammatory bowel disease and reconstituting blood cells following a bone marrow transplant.