Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. molecule is effective against pulmonary fibrosis in a mouse model

A novel small molecule in the Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. (TTI) pipeline reduces the progression of pulmonary fibrosis in a mouse model that is accepted as a basis for human drug approval for this disease. The results are published as a manuscript titled “Targeting the isoprenoid pathway to abrogate progression of pulmonary fibrosis,” which recently appeared in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Pulmonary fibrosis is a devastating disease with high morbidity and mortality. The innovative TTI compound affects an important signaling pathway in lung macrophages that reduces progression of the disease.

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Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. molecule is effective prostate cancer metastasis in a mouse model

A novel small molecule in the Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. (TTI) pipeline reduces metastases in a mouse model of prostate cancer. The results are published as a manuscript titled “Targeting geranylgeranylation reduces adrenal gland tumor burden in a murine model of prostate cancer metastasis,” which recently appeared in the journal Clinical & Experimental Metastasis. Dr. Ray Hohl, Director of the Penn State Cancer Institute is the senior author. The data shows a 54% reduction in total adrenal tumor burden as compared to untreated controls. The innovative TTI compound affects an important signaling pathway which serves as a biomarker in these experiments.

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Start-ups get feedback at Innovation Expo

TTI was recently mentioned in this article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette

By Dave DeWitte

…Several presenters were established businesses that are looking for funding, resources or ideas to let them grow.

Terpenoid Therapeutics’ Raymond Hohl seemed to dazzle his critique panel at the Seed and Venture Forum with his description of the company’s progress developing first-in-class small-molecule drugs to treat prostate cancer and brain cancer. The company aims to build value for investors by providing safety in human trials and then identifying a drug company partner to carry out further clinical development and take the products to market.

“It’s remarkable the amount of development you have been able to do on so little capital,” was one comment…

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Recasting natural product research

Terpenoid Therapeutics was recently mentioned in this Nature Biotechnology article:

By Cormac Sheridan

Can the commercial sector capitalize on the merger of high-throughput technology and natural products? Cormac Sheridan investigates.

The recent fanfare surrounding Warp Drive Bio, a startup with an ambitious agenda to marry natural products–based drug discovery with modern genomics, signals that there may still be life in what has become a moribund niche of the pharmaceutical industry. Although natural products research has historically been a mainstay of drug developers—
in previous eras, around half of all drugs had their origins in natural sources—interest in the area has dwindled in recent decades.

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Terpenoid Therapeutics a Prometheus Award Finalist for the second time

Press Release

Finalists for the 2012 Prometheus Awards were announced by the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI), and Terpenoid Therapeutics, Inc (TTI) was selected as a finalist in the Life Sciences Company of the Year category for the second consecutive year. The Prometheus event is considered to be the largest technology event in Iowa and the industry’s most prestigious award. For more information about the Prometheus Awards, go to www.technologyiowa.org.

 

Terpenoid Therapeutics Highlighted at President Sally Mason’s Spring Forum

The final President’s Forum for the spring semester was held on Monday, April 23rd , 2012, from 8:00 – 9:00 am in the East Room, UIHC.

After President Mason began the program with comments on University finances and operations, and she then provided an overview of the growing University of Iowa Research Park and the BioVentures Center.

Dr. Raymond Hohl, Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Blood & Marrow Transplantation, Carver College of Medicine, was the principal speaker.  He gave a short presentation entitled ” Terpenoid Therapeutics, Inc.: Translating Science from the University to the Public”.  His talk highlighted the origin of this company, its growth in funding and the number of employees, and its goals of developing cancer chemotherapy agents based on research that originated in UI laboratories.  Following his presentation, he took questions from the audience on various stages of economic development.

Centers house companies moving research forward

Terpenoid Therapeutics was featured in this article in the local newspaper:

By
Emily Schettler

Iowa City Press-Citizen

When Jeffrey Neighbors and his three business partners founded Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. in 2005, their workspace was a little smaller than it is today.

“My office was basically my backpack,” said Neighbors, an assistant research scientist at the University of Iowa and senior scientist at Terpenoid.

The drug discovery and development company is a spin-out operation from UI, where Raymond Hohl, a professor of Internal Medicine and Pharmacology in the Carver College of Medicine; David Wiemer, a professor of chemistry and pharmacology and Chemistry Department chairman; and their former students, Neighbors and Andrew Wiemer; conducted years of research on treatments for brain cancer and prostate cancer.

They formed Terpenoid once their research had developed to the stage of protected intellectual property, but it didn’t really start to take off until the company received federal funding two years later.

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Terpenoid Therapeutics, Inc named a Prometheus Award Finalist

Press Release

Finalists for the 2011 Prometheus Awards have been announced by the Technology Association of Iowa (TAI), and Terpenoid Therapeutics, Inc (TTI) has been selected as a finalist in the Life Sciences Company of the Year category. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Altoona, Iowa on April 7th. For more information about the Prometheus Awards, go to www.technologyiowa.org.

The Prometheus event is considered to be the largest technology event in Iowa and the industry’s most prestigious award. “Since the Prometheus Awards began six years ago, more and more leaders across the state and country have taken notice,” said TAI president Leann Jacobson.

Terpenoid Therapeutics earns $224,000 in grants for cancer drug development

University of Iowa News Release

Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc., a University of Iowa spinout company based in Coralville, Iowa, has earned $224,000 in commercialization grants from the National Cancer Institute. The company was awarded two Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants, which are administered through the Small Business Administration.

Drug development at Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. is based on research from the UI departments of Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Internal Medicine and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UI. The company was founded by professors Raymond J. Hohl M.D., and David F. Wiemer who have been interdisciplinary research collaborators for well over a decade. Hohl is associate chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine. Wiemer is chair of the Department of Chemistry in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Both hold appointments in the Department of Pharmacology.

Hohl, Wiemer and other UI scientists with expertise in chemistry, molecular biology, pharmacology and pharmaceutical development are working with the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) to commercialize their technology. The UIRF has funded Entrepreneur-in-Residence Randy Weiss, venture partner at Triathlon Medical Ventures in St. Louis, to work towards a first round of professional venture investment.

Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. is the 20th tenant of the UI Technology Innovation Center business incubator and has its laboratories based in the UI Multi-Tenant Facility in Coralville.

The company has two broad drug development projects, both aimed at treating cancer. The first lead molecule is based on targets within the cholesterol metabolic pathway and is intended to treat metastatic bone disease associated with prostate and breast cancer and multiple myeloma. The second lead is being developed to treat brain cancers. “We believe drugs derived from both of these projects have the strong potential to improve outcomes for patients with these diseases, and will improve quality of care by having fewer side effects than existing agents,” says Jeff Neighbors, a founder of Terpenoid and an assistant research scientist at the UI.

Pam York, the executive director of the UIRF, said that “STTRs are critical sources of funding that fill a gap in financing between R&D and professional investment for these early stage companies. These grants can make the difference in whether or not a company gets off the ground.”

The STTR program requires that a small business formally collaborate with a research institution. Terpenoid Therapeutics will move from the Multi-Tenant Facility at the UI Oakdale Research Park to new laboratories in the UI’s new BioVentures Center business incubator facility in late 2008.

Hohl also holds the Holden Family Chair and is associate director of Translational Research and leader of the Cell Signaling and Developmental Pharmacology Program at Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. Wiemer is a member of the UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. Hohl also directs the UI Roland W. Holden Family Program for Experimental Cancer Therapeutics. Hohl and Wiemer have jointly directed a Roy J. Carver Research Program of Excellence in the UI Carver College of Medicine for the past six years. Neighbors completed his doctorate under the mentorship of Professor Wiemer and serves as the principal investigator for Terpenoid Therapeutics Inc. on these STTR grants.

The UI Research Foundation, Technology Innovation Center business incubator and the UI Oakdale Research Park are programs of the IOWA Centers for Enterprise, which integrates existing economic development activities at the UI, offers a comprehensive program that promotes economic development and technology transfer, provides assistance to Iowa startups and existing Iowa businesses and communities, and helps the state of Iowa develop a creative, entrepreneurial workforce. IOWA Centers for Enterprise optimizes the flow of university intellectual property into opportunities for licensing, commercialization and business development. For more information, visit http://www.enterprise.uiowa.edu/.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 370, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242

Terpenoid Therapeutics secures nearly $450,000 in new grant support

Press Release

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.