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Upheaval And Opportunity Reshape The Oncology Market

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Changing dynamics in oncology, from increasing availability of generics to payors' unapologetic cost-consciousness, are influencing companies of all sizes. Recent ch biostart-up financings show support is available to those positioned to deliver value for money. In this issue we profile Cyterix Pharmaceuticals, Polaris Group, Tesaro, Tocagen, Tragara Pharmaceuticals and VentiRx Pharmaceuticals.

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Cyterix Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Cyterix Pharmaceuticals Inc. thinks it has found a way to safely increase the maximum tolerated dose of gemcitabine, a widely used cancer drug. The prodrugs that Cyterix is developing are meant to be activated by specific variants within a huge family of enzymes all classified as cytochrome P450 enzymes.

Tocagen Inc.

Tocagen Inc. is confident that it possesses the proper technology to at last realize some of gene therapy's early promise. Instead of seeking to neuter vectors so they cannot spread, Tocagen deploys a retroviral replicating vector containing genes that let viruses enter and replicate in cancer cells. The retrovirus the company has modified for its purposes was isolated from mice, and no equivalent has been found in humans.

Tragara Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Tragara Pharmaceuticals Inc. may have found a beneficial use for a COX-2 inhibitor in oncology, and it involves a urine test, not a biopsy, to match non-small cell lung cancer patients with the therapy. This profile was adapted from an article that first appeared in the July issue of Pharmaceuticals Approval Monthly.

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