Spherix Acquires Rights to Anthrax Toxin Altered to Target Ovarian Cancer

Spherix Acquires Rights to Anthrax Toxin Altered to Target Ovarian Cancer
Spherix announced that it has closed an exclusive option agreement to license PrAg-PAS, an anthrax-based potential therapy for ovarian cancer developed by scientists at the University of Maryland at Baltimore (UMB). The agreement gives Spherix rights to a patent application, now under consideration by the U.S. Patents Trademark Office. Spherix has until early December to execute a license agreement for commercial development. Anthrax toxin contains three proteins and is not harmful to cells in its original form. However, one of those proteins, called PrAg, is recognized and broken by proteases — proteins that breakdown other proteins — present in the membrane of almost all cells in the body. The breaking of PrAg activates the anthrax toxin, causing toxicity and cell death. Researchers at the UMB altered the natural anthrax toxin so that specific proteases only expressed by ovarian cancer cells activate PrAg, and not proteases present in all cells. By doing this, they made a potential anticancer treatment called PrAg-PAS. Using a similar approach, PrAg could be engineered to target any protease expressed by cancer cells, possibly treating several types of cancer. "This invention from the University of Maryland, Baltimore is ingenious. In simple terms, they have modified the Anthrax toxin so that it kills cancer cells, but not other cells," Anthony Hayes, CEO of Spherix, said in a
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