NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX) today announced that the Company has executed an exclusive option agreement ("Option") with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) related to its anticancer drug designated PrAg-PAS, a novel protein drug designed by re-engineering the anthrax toxin delivery mechanism so that any one of a number of anticancer drug payloads may be specifically transported into ovarian cancer cells.
The Option includes rights to U.S. Patent Application Serial No. 15/747,255, which is currently under active examination at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Under the Option, Spherix has until early December of 2019 to complete its due diligence and execute a license agreement for commercial development.
The execution of this Option closely follows shareholder approval on September 5th of the Asset Purchase Agreement with CBM BioPharma, Inc. ("CBM"), under which Spherix acquires the assets of CBM, including rights to CBM's lead drug candidate Gem-DHA for the treatment of pancreatic cancer (see press release dated June 26, 2019). It also follows Spherix's execution on August 26th of an option to license anticancer drug G4-1 from the University of Kentucky (see September 11, 2019 Press Release)
Mr. Anthony Hayes, CEO of Spherix stated, "This invention from the University of Maryland, Baltimore is ingenious. In simple terms, they have modified the Anthrax toxin so that it kills cancer cells, but not other cells. By using an elegant protein engineering strategy, the inventors have hijacked the complex anthrax toxin delivery mechanism to create a highly efficient drug delivery system specific to ovarian cancer cells. In mouse models tested, the data show that tumor growth halted following treatment with PrAg-PAS and did not increase compared to the control mice. The inventors also find that the drug is well-tolerated with no obvious adverse interactions. I believe that PrAg-PAS has the potential to strongly enhance our anticancer clinical development program and we look forward to completing our diligence on this promising anticancer drug."
A report of a related re-engineered PrAg's anticancer effects has been published in Martin et al. (2015), "Targeting the membrane-anchored serine protease testisin with a novel engineered anthrax toxin prodrug to kill tumor cells and reduce tumor burden," Oncotarget Vol. 6, 32:33534-53 (the "Martin Paper") (see https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26392335). According to the Martin Paper, after the first injection of PrAg-PCIS, tumor growth arrested and did not increase compared with vehicle treated tumors, over the course of the experiment. In addition, treatments with the PrAg-PCIS toxin were well-tolerated by the mice and did not appear to have any overt off-target side effects. Treated mice did not experience substantial weight loss and necropsies revealed no gross abnormalities or organ damage.
"Spherix is an excellent commercial partner for this promising technology," said Phil Robilotto, Associate Vice President, Office of Technology Transfer at UMB, and Director of UM Ventures, Baltimore. "They have a strong track record of successfully collaborating with universities and we are very excited by Spherix's goals for PrAG-PAS program."
Spherix Incorporated is a technology development company committed to the fostering of innovative ideas. Spherix Incorporated was formed in 1967 as a scientific research company.
Our activities generally include the acquisition and development of technology through internal or external research and development. In addition, we seek to acquire existing rights to intellectual property through the acquisition of already issued patents and pending patent applications, both in the United States and abroad. We may alone, or in conjunction with others, develop products and processes associated with technology development and monetizing related intellectual property.
About University of Maryland, Baltimore
The University of Maryland, Baltimore is commercializing breakthrough therapies, diagnostics and devices, fueling the creation of innovative start-up companies, and attracting industry leaders and entrepreneurs to its thriving campus. Founded in 1807 as the first public medical school in the nation, the University is a fast-growing biomedical research center with nationally ranked professional schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, an interdisciplinary graduate school as well as a 14-acre biomedical research park. www.umaryland.edu
Certain statements made herein are not historical facts but are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as "may", "should", "would", "plan", "intend", "anticipate", "believe", "estimate", "predict", "potential", "seem", "seek", "continue", "future", "will", "expect", "outlook" or other similar words, phrases or expressions. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding Spherix's and CBM's industry, future events, the proposed transaction between the parties to the Asset Purchase Agreement, the estimated or anticipated future results and benefits of the Company following the transaction, including the likelihood and ability of the parties to successfully consummate the proposed transaction, future opportunities for the combined company, and other statements that are not historical facts. These statements are based on the current expectations of Spherix's management and are not predictions of actual performance. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties regarding the businesses of Spherix and the transaction, and actual results may differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, changes in the business environment in which Spherix or CBM operates, including inflation and interest rates, and general financial, economic, regulatory and political conditions affecting the industry in which Spherix or CBM operates; changes in taxes, governmental laws, and regulations; competitive product and pricing activity; difficulties of managing growth profitably; the inability of the parties to successfully or timely consummate the proposed transaction, including the risk that any required regulatory approvals are not obtained, are delayed or are subject to unanticipated conditions that could adversely affect the combined company or the expected benefits of the transaction are not obtained; failure to realize the anticipated benefits of the transaction, including as a result of a delay in consummating the transaction or a delay or difficulty in integrating the assets of CBM; delays or failure to obtain any required approvals for the proposed special dividend; uncertainty as to the long-term value of Spherix's common stock; those discussed in the Spherix's Annual Reports on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other documents of Spherix on file with the SEC or in the registration statement that will be filed with the SEC by Spherix. There may be additional risks that Spherix presently does not know or that Spherix currently believes are immaterial that could also cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. In addition, forward-looking statements provide Spherix's expectations, plans or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this communication. Spherix anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause Spherix's assessments to change. However, while Spherix may elect to update these forward- looking statements at some point in the future, Spherix specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing Spherix's assessments as of any date subsequent to the date of this communication.
SOURCE Spherix Incorporated