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Cancer therapeutics start-up has roots in NCATS research collaboration

Seed investor CincyTech announced in April the formation of Kurome Therapeutics ("Kurome"), a preclinical stage company developing novel therapies targeting cancer cells' adaptive resistance mechanisms beginning with hematopoietic, or blood cell, cancers. Kurome secured the license to develop the therapies from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center ("Cincinnati Children's"), a top ranked pediatric medical center and research institution.

Kurome is founded on research at Cincinnati Children's in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS). The company is developing combined IRAK1/4 and panFLT3 inhibitors to target cancer cells that evade the effects of chemotherapy drugs by adaptive resistance, having co-opted immune signaling pathways to survive. Drug resistant cancers can be deadly for many patients, and Kurome's approach may offer a novel strategy that keeps patients in remission longer and extends overall survival.

Kurome's pipeline of IRAK 1/4, panFLT3 inhibitors have demonstrated in preclinical studies to:

* Induce rapid and irrecoverable cytotoxicity in cell line models and increase overall survival in patient-derived xenograft models, well beyond that of existing clinical FLT3 inhibitors.

* Synergize with and improve potency of Venclexta® (Venetoclax).

* Maintain complete efficacy even in settings of adaptive resistance to FLT3 inhibitors.

Kurome's initial focus is on improving health in poor prognosis acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a deadly blood and bone marrow cancer with a high mortality rate. Kurome may potentially expand its focus to work across a range of hematopoietic cancers, including pre-leukemic conditions such as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). Collectively, more than 30,000 new cases of MDS and AML are diagnosed in the United States each year. The median survival time for MDS is only 2.5 years after diagnosis, and the 5-year survival rate for AML is only 27%.

CincyTech led the company's seed investment round.

"Kurome was created to accelerate the development of novel technology from world class cancer scientists at Cincinnati Children's and NCATS. This pathway approach has the potential to add to a growing arsenal of genetically targeted cancer therapies," said John Rice, PhD, managing director of life sciences at CincyTech.

The company is being led by Jan Rosenbaum, PhD, a drug development professional, chief scientific officer and innovator with more than 25 years of pharma and biotech technical management experience. Rosenbaum is the former chief scientific officer of Airway Therapeutics, a 2011 spin-out of Cincinnati Children's that is also a CincyTech portfolio company. She also serves as a business development advisor on the Therapeutics Development Team of the Harrington Discovery Institute.

Read more: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-04/c-ktt042720.php

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