Laevoroc Oncology Unveils Immunology Subsidiary with CSO Shanta Bantia to Develop PNP Inhibitor for Eradication of Relapsed Leukemia
Zug, Switzerland, 6 July 2021: Laevoroc Oncology (‘Laevoroc’ or ‘the company’), a privately-owned, Swiss oncology development company, announced today the appointment of Shanta Bantia, PhD, as CSO of Laevoroc Immunology, an asset-centric subsidiary of Laevoroc, developing a highly potent Purine Nucleoside Phosphorylase (PNP) inhibitor, LR 09 (Ulodesine), to guide the immune system to eradicate relapsed leukemia after stem cell transplantation.
Laevoroc is pursuing an asset-centric business model with three subsidiaries (chemotherapy, immunology and neuro-oncology) covering a pipeline that spans breakthrough innovation through to re-imagining approved therapies.
Dr Bantia joins to lead the R&D activities of the Laevoroc Immunology subsidiary, with more than 20 years of experience in drug discovery and development. As Founder and CEO of Nitor Therapeutics (USA), she was responsible for the research and trials that led to the repurposing of PNP inhibitors for new indications. Prior to this, in her role as Executive Director of Discovery Biology at BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (USA), she advanced several compounds into the clinic leading to the approval of RAPIVAB® for influenza and MUNDESINE® for peripheral T-cell lymphoma. She was a key contributor in the procurement of $200+ million and $30+ million grants from U.S. government agencies for the advancement of RAPIVAB® and Galidesivir, respectively. Dr Bantia received her PhD from University of Maryland (USA), with Post-doctoral and Assistant Professor experience at The Johns Hopkins University (USA) and University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA), respectively.
Laevoroc Immunology is repurposing the small molecule drug, Ulodesine, originally developed for the treatment of gout, as an oral immuno-oncology agent to initiate graft-versus-leukemia reaction for relapsed cases after allogenic stem cell transplantation. The patent rights to Ulodesine for new indications were licensed from Nitor Therapeutics. As part of the Ulodesine repurposing work, Laevoroc Immunology has recently entered into agreements with two major US Institutions: UCLA, for the licensing of data supporting the LR 09 development programme, as well as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, to explore LR 09’s graft-versus-host and graft-versus-leukemia activity.
Relapse post transplantation is the most frequent cause of treatment failure, in children and adults. LR 09 in the clinic has demonstrated an excellent safety profile and is formulated as an oral once-a-day treatment.
Welcoming Shanta Bantia, PhD, to the team, Laevoroc’s co-founder and CEO, Thomas Mehrling, MD, PhD, said, ‘We’re incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Bantia to lead the scientific research operations of Laevoroc Immunology. Our vision with LR 09 is to enable the cure of relapsed leukemia. Her experience in drug development and securing financing will be invaluable to advance LR 09 towards the clinic and raise Series A financing for our Immunology subsidiary this year. We believe our innovation is a game-changing new therapy with the potential to become standard of care.”
Shanta Bantia, PhD, CSO of Laevoroc Immunology said, “I am passionate about advancing innovative science and progressing drugs that provide substantial improvement over current therapies. The Laevoroc founders share this same passion of bringing game-changing therapies to patients living with cancer, and I am looking forward to driving the company’s research towards this goal.”
About Laevoroc Oncology
Laevoroc is a privately owned, Swiss oncology development group of companies, based in Zug and founded in 2019, by Thomas Mehrling MD PhD, and Davide Guggi PhD, who have over 40 years’ combined experience in oncology and the pharmaceutical industry. The company is pursuing an asset-centric business model with three subsidiaries (chemotherapy, immunology and neuro-oncology) covering a pipeline that spans breakthrough innovation through to re-imagining approved therapies.
The company has raised over USD 1.1m in seed finance and is actively raising Series A financing for each of its subsidiaries.
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Katja Stout/Sue Charles/Daniel Gooch