Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc., a University of Iowa spinout company based in Coralville, Iowa, has secured nearly $450,000 in new grant support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and tax credits from the Internal Revenue Service. These funds will be used to advance cancer drug candidates toward commercialization.
The company raised $204,000 from a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the NIH for studies intended to advance proprietary inhibitors based on a natural lead compound toward clinical use for treatment of metastatic cancer. In addition, the company raised $245,000 from the United States Internal Revenue service’s Qualified Therapeutic Discovery Project Tax Credit Program. Together these awards total nearly $450,000.
Drug development at Terpenoid is based on research from the UI departments of chemistry, pharmacology and internal medicine and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI. Raymond J. Hohl, M.D. Ph. D., and David F. Wiemer Ph. D., UI faculty members who have been interdisciplinary research collaborators for 15 years, and two of their former students, Jeffrey D. Neighbors, Ph. D. and Andrew J. Wiemer, Ph. D., founded the company.
The new grant will “provide important funding to advance one of Terpenoid’s key projects, but the tax credit is very helpful as well,” said Ray Hohl, currently serving as Terpenoid’s president and CEO. “The tax credits allow the company essential flexibility to explore new facets of our lead compounds quickly.”
The grants also provide important validation of the Terpenoid goals by external scientific panels. To date, Terpenoid has received a total of five of the highly competitive NIH awards and has several other proposals currently under review.
Terpenoid has been working with the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) to commercialize discoveries made at the UI. The company has been a tenant at the new BioVentures Center in Coralville since it opened it 2009. It currently employs seven people.
The company has two broad drug development projects, both aimed at treating different types of cancer and based on issued patents. The first study is directed at enzyme targets within the cholesterol metabolic pathway, and is intended to treat metastatic bone disease associated with prostate and breast cancer as well as multiple myeloma. The second study is being developed to treat brain cancers such as glioblastoma multiforme and is based on a natural product lead.