ImmuRx, co-founded by Ross Kedl, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of immunology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, has been awarded a $577,000 Small Business Innovation Research award from the National Institutes of Health to study the potential of the ImmuRx platform to treat tuberculosis, or TB.
ImmuRx is developing drug products that stimulate the immune system for the treatment of cancer and chronic infectious diseases. The company's platform is based on intellectual property licensed from the University of Colorado and Dartmouth College.
A major part of the TB work will be conducted in two Colorado laboratories. Kedl's laboratory at UC Denver will optimize the immunological properties. Dr. Angelo Izzo, of Colorado State University's mycobacteria research laboratories, will test whether the approach protects against TB. The entire program is expected to take two years.
"The immune system is like a lock that requires two keys — and ImmuRx provides them both," Kedl said. "Current adjuvant products stimulate only half of the immune system. The ImmuRx platform stimulates both the innate and adaptive halves. The result is synergy which dramatically enhances efficacy and safety."
The competitive advantage of the platform has been demonstrated in animal models of a variety of diseases, each representing a large class of addressable markets: solid tumors such as melanoma and lung; hematologic cancers such as lymphoma; and chronic viral and bacterial infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, TB and possibly HIV.