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Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer announces academic-biotech collaboration

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Researchers from the Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer, or AURIC, and Nuovo Biologics LLC, of Davie, Florida, have announced a partnership to develop new therapies for cancer.

Initially targeting canine malignant melanoma, or skin cancer, a deadly tumor that affects many dogs, the team will be testing Nuovo’s innovative anti-cancer peptide drug MMX for its ability to treat these tumors.

The National Institutes for Health recently awarded a grant funded by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to support a clinical trial of the new peptide treatment. According to Dr. Bruce Smith, director of AURIC and leader of the Auburn component of the research effort, the clinical trial will begin to recruit patients as early as June or July.

Jay Yourist, CEO of Nuovo Biologics, Auburn’s biotech partner, said, “This clinical trial represents the next step in moving MMX forward to FDA approval.”

In addition to the planned research with Nuovo, AURIC scientists are pursuing a wide variety of interdisciplinary cancer research, ranging from identifying the basic mechanisms that make normal cells become cancerous to a variety of new approaches to treating cancers. Funding for AURIC research is provided by the state of Alabama, federal research grants, funding from private organizations and donations from individuals.

Both AURIC and Nuovo Biologics take a One Health/One Medicine approach to cancer treatment, allowing discoveries in one species to be translated to other species. This latest partnership builds on the collaborative approach Nuovo has implemented with academic institutions, researchers and veterinarians across the country.

Founded in 2010, Nuovo Biologics is focused on developing a unique set of therapeutic protein drugs. Extensive in-vitro and animal model studies have shown these new peptide drugs to be promising in the oncology sphere, but also to have broad anti-viral application. Nuovo’s business model leverages strong collaborations to test animal products, which serve as models for the human market moving forward. For more information about Nuovo Biologics, go to http://www.nuovobiologics.com/.

The Auburn University Research Initiative in Cancer promotes research that enhances competitiveness to advance the understanding of the biology of cancer, and fosters the translation of novel technologies from the laboratory to the clinic. AURIC is human medicine, animal medicine, research and diagnostics where faculty, students and staff work together to solve the complex puzzle of cancer. AURIC is based within the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. For more information about AURIC, go to http://www.auriconline.org/.

by Janet McCoy

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