Finding compounds that can help fight cancer

January 30, 2012 •

SuviCa Inc. of Boulder and CU-Boulder completed an exclusive license agreement for a CU drug screening technology to identify novel therapies for cancer. 

The patented drug discovery tool, developed by Professor Tin Tin Su of the molecular, cellular, and developmental biology (MCDB) department, uses a genetically modified Drosophila fruit fly model to screen for compounds effective against various types of cancer, either alone or in combination with existing therapies. 

The screening technique will be used to identify new clinical candidates using a methodology that is both time efficient and cost effective. Because it uses a whole-animal screening model, the technique can more easily eliminate drug candidates with undesired toxicity.

SuviCa Inc. is an early-stage cancer drug discovery and development company co-founded by Su, who now serves as its chief science officer. 

Working in collaboration with scientists at CU-Boulder, the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Colorado State University, SuviCa is pursuing a promising discovery process based on several small molecules identified using its proprietary screening technology and targeted to a distinct cellular process. SuviCa researchers hope to discover and develop novel drugs used as standalone therapies or to prevent tumor recurrence following treatment with a variety of approved anti-cancer therapies.

SuviCa recently received funding from Colorado’s Bioscience Discovery Evaluation Grant Program, an initiative launched in 2007 by the state of Colorado’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade to provide early-stage, matching seed grants to enable the development and commercial validation of promising technologies that are licensed from Colorado research institutions.

SuviCa also received a grant from the Internal Revenue Service through the Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project Program aimed at small businesses. Current and future efforts will focus on identifying and optimizing additional lead compounds to enter into formal clinical testing.