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Foundation Venture Capital Group Invests in Company Working to Protect Healthy Tissue During Cancer Treatment
Date:11/24/2008

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- James M. Golubieski, president of Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC, a New Jersey Health Foundation affiliate, announced today that the company has made a $500,000 commitment to Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company involved in developing kinase inhibitors that may keep normal cells healthy during chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

The company is a start-up at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

"Despite the tremendous progress in chemotherapy and radiation use to treat cancer patients, most of the drugs available today are extremely toxic, not only killing cancer cells but also killing normal cells," explained Alexey Ryazanov, PhD, founder and president of Longevica. "Our company is working to develop approaches to help protect normal tissue during chemotherapy and radiation treatment."

Longevica scientists discovered that if the EF2 kinase (a protein involved in the regulation of protein synthesis in human cells) can be rendered inactive, normal cells could be protected from dying during chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Not only does this process protect normal tissues from dying, says Dr. Ryazanov, but it also renders the cancer-killing treatment more effective.

"The work of Dr. Ryazanov and the scientists at Longevica is so exciting because currently, there is no such therapy available," explained George F. Heinrich, MD, vice chair and CEO of Foundation Venture Capital Group. "A breakthrough in the use of this kinase could positively affect millions of people undergoing cancer treatments. We are proud that Foundation Venture Capital Group is able to help move Longevica's research to the next level of study."

In addition to helping cancer patients undergoing treatment, preliminary studies also indicate the same drug can be used to help patients who have had strokes by protecting cells and tissues from cell death in the heart and brain. It may also prevent the progressive loss of neurons in patients with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease

Foundation Venture Capital Group was founded in 2006 to invest in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey. Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is its third investment.


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SOURCE Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC
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