USF Biotechnology Spin-Off Raises $25 Million
TAMPA, Fla. (June 24, 2008) – The intersection of scholarly research and entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida is benefitting a biotech firm looking to help patients with serious illnesses. IRX Therapeutics, a privately held company started with technology licensed exclusively from USF announced that it has raised $25 million through a Series A Preferred Stock offering. To date, the company has raised more than $65 million in private financing. IRX Therapeutics is dedicated to the discovery and development of proprietary drugs for the treatment of cancer and viral diseases.
"We are very pleased with the response to our Series A Preferred financing from existing and new investors,"said John W. Hadden II, president & chief executive officer. “With this new funding, we are well positioned to continue the development of our lead product, citoplurikin, and build upon previous clinical trial success. The University of South Florida, the USF Research Foundation, and its Patents & Licensing Division have been supportive partners since the company's founding, and we look forward to further developing and commercializing these exciting technologies.”
The new funding will be used to further develop its cancer and viral disease product platform, including IRX-2 (citoplurikin), the company’s lead candidate for cancer treatment. The company is developing an approach that seeks to stimulate a coordinated cellular immune response that can enable a patient’s own immune system to fight disease. The overall goal of these programs is to increase survival and improve quality of life for patients. IRX Therapeutics has completed a Phase 2 clinical trial and announced preliminary positive findings at the 26th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January. As a result, the company is now planning to commence a Phase 3 study of citoplurikin.
"IRX Therapeutics is a great example of the success that occurs when strong technology is coupled with experienced and capable management,” said Valerie Landrio McDevitt, director of Patents & Licensing at USF. “These are the kinds of successes USF is focused on facilitating."
IRX Therapeutics is a privately held immunotherapy company founded by John W. Hadden, M.D., a pioneer in the field of immunopharmacology. The company's product platform seeks to restore an effective cellular immune response for the treatment of advanced cancers and viral diseases by correcting both dendritic cell and T-cell defects. An effective immune response is essential for the eradication of viruses and tumors. The company's lead product, IRX-2 (citoplurikin), received Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration. Phase 1/2 and Phase 2 clinical trials in late-stage head and neck cancer patients have been completed. For more information on IRX Therapeutics, please visit the company's Web site at http://www.irxtherapeutics.com.
The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.6 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.
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