Targeting Intracellular Protein-Protein Interactions
The role of many intracellular Protein-Protein Interactions (PPIs) in disease has been well studied. However, translating this knowledge to novel therapeutics has been difficult due to challenges in targeting intracellular PPIs with small molecules and their inaccessibility to antibodies. By some estimates, ~70% of proteins implicated in disease formation are considered “undruggable” by traditional approaches. We at EvoRx Technologies believe that unlocking these targets will be key in developing treatments for life threatening diseases, such as cancer, that represent a high unmet clinical need.
EvoRx discovers and develops novel macrocyclic peptides for modulating intracellular PPIs. We design, generate and screen 500 billion member peptide libraries for drug-like properties including cell permeability, stability in complex media such as human serum, and high target specificity. This results in membrane permeable hits able to be easily optimized by standard medicinal chemistry techniques and able to target intracellular PPIs. We have successfully deployed this technology in collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies, such as AstraZeneca, to aid in their discovery efforts.
Targeting β-Catenin in Colorectal Cancer
We are developing an oral treatment for colon cancer targeting β-catenin in the Wnt pathway. Abnormalities in the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway has been implicated in more than 70% of colon cancer patients. While β-catenin has been a highly sought after and well understood drug target, it has thus far remained undrugable. Using our platform technology our team have developed novel lead molecules with excellent cellular potency.
Targeting Cell-Surface Receptors for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer (IBC) is a highly aggressive disease with a five-year survival rate below 30%. IBC is difficult to detect on mammograms and challenging to biopsy since it does not form a discrete lump. This often leads to an imprecise diagnosis and staging. Many patients with IBC are Her2-positive and data suggests that patients could benefit from anti-Her2 therapies. However, mis-staging or lack of assessment for Her2 status may prevent or delays access to Her2 therapies.
Using our proprietary technology platform, EvoRx Technologies is developing a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging agent to help accurately assess Her2 status for primary and secondary tumors and to help monitor the course of Her2 treatment in IBC. In parallel, we are developing a targeted radiotherapy for Her2 that can deliver radiation more specifically and effectively to the tumor than traditional radiation treatments.
Stephen V. Fiacco, Ph.D.
Dr. Fiacco is a founding member of EvoRx and serves as CEO where he oversees its general operations and business development. In this role, Dr. Fiacco has advanced the business through multiple negotiations of collaboration and license agreements with large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Additionally, his team has received both Phase I and Phase II NIH SBIR grants and contracts. Dr. Fiacco is actively involved in the Los Angeles biotech community serving on the advisory board of Biocom LA and had previously served on the board of directors at Innovate Pasadena.
Prior to founding EvoRx, Dr. Fiacco was an integral member of the scientific team involved in inventing EvoRx’s platform technology and has been listed as an inventor on 5 patents and an author in 4 related publications. He earned his B.S. in Creative Studies Chemistry at UCSB, his M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Cal Tech and his PhD in Chemistry in the lab of Dr. Roberts at USC.
Dr. Roberts is a founding member and scientific advisor to EvoRx. Dr. Roberts is a pioneer in methods for molecular recognition of nucleic acids, proteins and mRNA display technologies. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering (PECASE), among others. In his academic research, he continues to advance our knowledge of the design of new peptides and proteins for diagnostic, biologic, and therapeutic applications.
Since 2006, Dr. Roberts has been on the faculty at USC. In his primary role he currently serves as Professor and Chair of the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Dr. Roberts is a member of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Roberts holds a B.S. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from Yale. Following his postdoctoral work at Harvard University Medical School/ with Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak he joined Caltech Chemistry Department as Assistant Professor until 2006.
Dr. Paul Burke serves on EvoRx’s SAB assisting the company with business strategies and commercialization.
Dr. Burke is Principal of Burke Bioventures LLC, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotechnology consultancy focused on translating research breakthroughs into products. He provides strategic advice and scientific direction for biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and drug delivery companies and interim R&D management of venture-backed start-ups. Dr. Burke was formerly the founding head of Pfizer’s global Center of Excellence for targeted drug delivery and imaging, and Chief Technology Officer of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Unit. Previously he was Executive Director, RNA Therapeutics at Merck & Co. where he led delivery R&D, charged with developing enabling technologies for maximizing value from the company’s $1.1B acquisition of Sirna Therapeutics. The effort encompassed five discovery and preclinical departments and multiple external partnerships. Dr. Burke joined Merck following a decade-long tenure at Amgen, where he held positions of increasing responsibility including his most recent as Executive Director, Pharmaceutics. He received his B.S. in Chemistry with Distinction and Departmental Honors from Harvey Mudd College and his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from MIT. He is an Affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington and, for the winter 2017 term, was the Distinguished Visiting Professor at City of Hope’s Beckman Research Institute.
Dr. Kleiser serves on EvoRx’s SAB assisting the company with business strategies and commercialization.
Dr. Kleiser has over 25 years of experience in life science research, business development and alliance management in academia and biomedical industry. She has held positions as VP of Business Development at Allon Therapeutics, VP of Licensing at Epigenomics Inc., Senior Licensing Manager at Amgen, as well as senior technology transfer positions at the University of Washington and the University of Southern California. She served as Assistant Director, Strategic Alliances & Corporate Collaborations at USC.
Dr. Kleiser graduated with a Diploma (MS) in Biology from the University of Konstanz, Germany, with study semesters at the CNRS in Gif-sur-Yvette, France and the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. She earned her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Dr. Oivin Guicherit serves on EvoRx’s SAB assisting the company with R&D strategies.
Dr. Guicherit is currently the Director of Applications at StemoniX. He has close to 20 years of experience in the biopharma industry, including both Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical companies, as well as CROs. He brings a strong background in Assay Development and Drug Discovery and Screening, with cell-based platforms. He has extensive knowledge of the Wnt pathway, In Vitro Pharmacology, Cancer Biology, and High-Throughput Screening.
Dr. Guicherit started his training in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands), graduating with honors (M.Sc.). And, after completing his Ph.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston (TX), he transferred to Stanford University (CA) for his postdoctoral training.
Christine Farrell brings broad operational experience in industry with 25 years of experience in research, licensing, and product development roles. She currently serves as Director of Project Management at Applied Molecular Transport Inc., located in the Bay Area. At Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Christine enjoyed team leadership roles that involved creating product development strategies, generating detailed timelines, coordinating development activities, and managing budgets. During her 16 year tenure at Amgen, her technical expertise was initially built in neuroscience research, and later expanded by leading scientific diligence teams evaluating new product opportunities in multiple therapeutic areas at various stages. Her business acumen resulted in successes in the development of intellectual property strategies, contract negotiations, and managing relationships with clients, collaborators, and academic partners. Christine holds an MSc. and BSc. from the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.
Dr. Takahashi is a Co-Founder and scientific advisor to EvoRx. He assists EvoRx in the development of peptide ligands and imaging probes across therapeutic areas.
His academic research focuses on the development of new techniques for engineering proteins and peptides. Dr. Takahashi joined USC in 2010 as Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences. He earned his BA in Chemistry at Claremont McKenna College in 1998 and concluded his graduate work at Caltech in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Roberts. He received his MS in Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics in 2004 and his PhD in 2005.
Dr. Millward is a Co-Founder and collaborates with EvoRx on several SBIR NIH awards aimed at developing novel EvoTide-based imaging probes for its oncology portfolio. His academic research focuses on the development of novel PET imaging agents for cancer imaging, allowing for patient stratification, informing clinical decisions, and enabling monitoring of response to treatment. Dr. Millward is an Assistant Professor and an Associate Director of Chemistry in the Department of Cancer Systems Imaging at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Millward received with BA in Biology form The Johns Hopkins University. He earned his Ph.D. from Caltech in 2007 working with Dr. Richard Roberts and was an NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. James Heath at Caltech.
EvoRx Technologies is seeking partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to discover new molecules using our platform technology.
Stephen V. Fiacco