Qualigen, a company focused on developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases, plans to fund continued development with UofL to ready the technology for market.
The technology works by targeting the RAS protein, which sends signals that regulate when and where the body produces and grows new cells. Co-inventor Geoffrey Clark, PhD, said that if the protein mutates, it becomes a “stuck-accelerator pedal.” Clark, a UofL professor of pharmacology and toxicology, said, “When it becomes mutated, the accelerator’s jammed on, with cells continuing to grow and ultimately becoming a cancerous tumor.”
The drug targets only the active RAS protein and, so far, has little toxic effect on healthy cells. Many current non-targeted treatments, such as chemotherapy, can hurt both healthy and cancerous cells, leading to painful side effects. By some estimates, targeting this mutation could stop the growth of at least a third of human tumors.
Qualigen holds an exclusive license to the technology through the UofL Commercialization EPI-Center, which works with startups and industry to commercialize university-owned technologies.
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INNOVATIVE HELP WANTED
Collaborate with experts to improve healthcare
Hive Networks is not only a new business but it’s a business that is working in uncharted territory. Its goal is to build an integrated platform to support key elements of Learning Health Networks.
The Hive team includes software engineers, researchers and technical product managers, as well as clinical strategists, all with top-notch skills.
According to Scott Roth, Hive’s CTO, the culture at Hive is a big part of how they operate. “Our team is adaptable and agile. We are a family. Everyone collaborates and pitches in wherever they’re needed. We hold each other accountable.”
Roth said each team member does, “a little bit of everything. We’re all so focused on the mission that the roles can blur.” Chris Sauer, Systems Architecture Director says he stays in three modes—past, present, and future—and is always trying to anticipate how to create the “sum of the parts” and make them larger than the “whole.”
Bringing medical expertise to support the research behind Hive Networks, is an impressive board of directors.
The board includes Founder and CEO John Bostick (a serial entrepreneur who has been working with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital since 2016 on ways to spread and scale Learning Health Networks); Mike Venerable, CincyTech CEO, who has driven nearly $1 billion of investment into 85 Ohio-based healthcare technologies; Susannah Fox, the former CTO for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources; Jeffrey Robbins, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics who is the retired founder of the Heart Institute and Division of Molecular Cardiovascular Biology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; Kedar Mate, MD, CEO Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and Justin McGoldrick, MD, CMO of Research and Innovation for Bon Secours Mercy Health.
Gel provides breakthrough in prostate cancer treatment
A new technique for treating prostate cancer is improving outcomes at Louisville’s Norton Healthcare. The technology reduces the side effects of radiation treatments and lowers the number of treatments required for men with the disease. About 60,000 men need radiation treatment each year for prostate cancer.
Typically, radiation oncologists administer 44 treatments of low-dose radiation over nine weeks. Because of the prostate’s proximity to the rectum, it was previously unsafe to use a higher dose of radiation. The new technique involves injecting a gel called SpaceOAR Hydrogel to create a barrier between the prostate and rectum. That allows oncologists to administer a higher dose of radiation, with fewer overall treatments, resulting in fewer side effects.
New studies show that men who undergo the new procedure are far less likely to experience bowel, urinary, and sexual problems. The gel is injected as a liquid that forms a soft, firm barrier and is eventually flushed out of the body naturally.
The state of Kentucky is stepping up its support for startups and their entrepreneurs in a couple of ways. First, there is a 120-county effort to modernize Kentucky’s support for high-tech, high-growth-potential businesses. Second is an effort to teach product innovation and business model design to 72 students across five Kentucky cities. And third is $1.16 million in support of bringing tech from Kentucky universities to market.
The effort is called RISE, which stands for Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs. RISE has offices in Pikeville, Covington, Paducah, Lexington, Bowling Green, and Louisville. The partners will interface with state government via the state’s office for entrepreneurial and small business support, which is known as KY Innovation.
Commercializing university-born technology
The University of Louisville and partners will lead an effort to bring technologies born at Kentucky universities to market, thanks to $1.16 million in support announced by Gov. Andy Beshear.
The effort, Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV), is a collaboration between UofL, the University of Kentucky, and Kentucky Science and Technology Corp. (KSTC). Together, they will provide expertise, training and other support to help Kentucky colleges and universities get their inventions off campus and into the hands of entrepreneurs and industry.
Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs
The Governor’s School for Entrepreneurs (GSE) is an effort to give teens across the state an opportunity to learn about entrepreneurship and help them put their ideas into action. Along the way, they learn how to take a business concept from idea stage to pitching to potential investors.
The program combines virtual sessions three days a week and in-person meetings at entrepreneurial hubs two days a week, with all safety guidelines in place. GSE, which focuses on product innovation and business model design, currently has 72 students enrolled from across the commonwealth.
If you’ve ever had french fries that tasted like Filet-O-Fish, you know the problem Chapman has solved. And while keeping oil clean is a godsend to hungry restaurant patrons, FreshFry pods are even more valuable to restaurants because oil is one of the most expensive items they buy. Keeping it clean and making it last longer saves restaurants a lot of money. It’s also better for the environment.
The company has landed a national distribution deal with major distributor Sysco. It will use the new funds to invest in sales, marketing, and operations, as well as R&D for new products.
The Open Prairie Rural Opportunities Fund and Lightship Capital are both based in the Midwest and both focus on investing in underestimated and overlooked entrepreneurs and ecosystems. Lightship Capital General Partner Candice Matthews Brackeen called FreshFry “a transformative company with a rockstar partner.”
KNOW YOUR CITY!
Have you checked your "Louis-Q" recently?
What National Baseball Hall of Fame player graduated from duPont Manual High School?
When almost all public libraries around the country were closed to black people, this branch in Louisville was the first one to serve, and be operated by, black residents. Which library was it?
In one of Louisville’s weirdest urban legends, it is said that there is a part-man, part-goat and part-sheep creature living under a railroad trestle bridge in the Fisherville neighborhood. What name was given to this creature by locals?