Spin-out company to develop new anti-cancer drug

The University of Wolverhampton and Caparo plc have agreed arrangements to invest in a spin-out company that is developing a new anti-cancer drug.

The new company, Disulfican Ltd, has been formed to build on research carried out by Prof Weiguang Wang, Professor of Experimental Cancer Therapeutics at the University of Wolverhampton.  Disulfican Ltd will receive financial investment of approximately £200k from the University and the Caparo Angad Paul Fund, which invests in new technologies born out of University research. 

Led by Prof Wang, the Cancer Research Group is developing a treatment based on Disulfiram, an existing drug used to treat alcoholism which is showing promising results in pre-clinical testing as a new anti-cancer therapy.

While standard Disulfiram shows strong anticancer activity in the laboratory, its application in cancer clinical testing has previously been inhibited by its very short half-life in the blood stream, where it breaks-down and loses its anti-cancer profile. By encapsulating Disulfiram within a poly lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nano-particle, Disulfican scientists are able to prolong the half-life of the drug in the blood stream and transport it to the tumour site where it is released.

Disulfican Ltd aims to assemble an international research collaboration focused upon the development of the drug formulation to regulatory standards and testing its anti-cancer safety and efficacy.

Professor Wang, Director of Disulfican Ltd, said:

“We are very excited about the prospects for PLGA-Encapsulated Disulfiram. We are developing the treatment for use against two orphan cancers: mesothelioma and glioblastoma. People diagnosed with these diseases have very few treatment options and the hope is that our work will transform their prospects.”

If pre-clinical testing of PLGA-Encapsulated Disulfiram continues to prove successful, then it is hoped that phase I clinical trials may commence in 2020.

Initial research into encapsulated Disulfiram was conducted by the Cancer Research Group (CRG) within the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Wolverhampton. The intellectual property relating to encapsulated Disulfiram is owned by the University of Wolverhampton and will be assigned to Disulfican Ltd.

Both the University of Wolverhampton and Caparo plc will have shareholdings in Disulfican Ltd.

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