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Wayne State part of team for license on new ways to manage cancer with green tea extracts

DETROIT Wayne State University, along with McGill University and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, have executed an exclusive worldwide license with Viteava Pharmaceutical Inc. for an intellectual property portfolio claiming composition of matter and/or methods of use of novel analogs and derivatives of the green tea flavonoid, (-)epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

This intellectual property resulted from a long-standing collaboration between Q. Ping Dou, Ph.D., professor of oncology, pharmacology and pathology at Wayne State University's School of Medicine and the Karmanos Cancer Institute and Tak-Hang Chan, Ph.D., professor emeritus of chemistry at McGill University and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The intellectual property portfolio is owned by Wayne State University, McGill University, the University of South Florida, the Moffitt Cancer Center and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Patents have been issued in the U.S., Japan and China and are pending in other international jurisdictions.

Viteava Pharmaceuticals will focus on the development of novel approaches to manage cancer and related conditions. It has identified VPE001, a prodrug of EGCG with improved bioavailability and potency, as its lead drug candidate expected to enter clinical development in 2015. Initial clinical indications may include the treatment of uterine fibroids and/or delaying the progression of cancer in high-risk, early-stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients.

"My laboratory was the first to identify inhibition of proteasomal chymotrypsin-like activity as an important mechanism of action of EGCG," said Dou. "We also know that EGCG can affect, albeit to a lesser extent, other important pathways, such as PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. Viteava's drug candidates target diseases where these pathways are dysregulated."

"I am very excited to work together with Viteava Pharmaceuticals to move towards the clinic drug candidates designed through a deep understanding of structure-activity relationships involving the EGCG pharmacophore that my laboratory has researched for many years," said Chan. "We have been working diligently to translate the well-established health benefits of green tea and its major active ingredient, EGCG, to design commercially-viable drug candidates."

Viteava Pharmaceuticals is a privately-held start-up drug development company established to commercialize this intellectual property portfolio. The company's strategy focuses principally on clinical indications where green tea extracts have been demonstrated to elicit biological responses in human studies. Viteava's drug candidates are designed to improve these treatment regimens and achieve better clinical outcomes, while retaining a high level of safety. By regulating multiple pathways important to the progression of diseases such as cancer, Viteava's drug candidates are expected to provide advantages over more potent and more selective drugs that usually only elicit temporary responses together with a high level of toxicity.

Pou's research stemmed from a grant and administrative supplement of over $1.6 million from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (grant number 1R01CA120009). The grant, "Roles of polymorphic COMT, tea polyphenols and proteasome in cancer prevention," was initially funded in 2006.


Contact: Julie O'Connor
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

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