PHOENIX, Ariz. — October 4, 2022 — The Translational Genomics Research Institute, Part of City of Hope, and Stingray Therapeutics, Inc. of Dallas and Houston, Texas today announced a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) accelerated direct to phase II award of $2 Million. The NIH award, known as America’s Seed Fund, provides support to early-stage businesses to bring scientific innovations from bench to bedside.

Stingray co-founder and TGen Physician-in-Chief Sunil Sharma, M.D., says the funds will allow Stingray to complete preclinical activities at Stingray and TGen for Stingray’s novel innate immune oncology agent, SR-8541a, a novel ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase 1 (ENPP1) inhibitor, including toxicology, drug product manufacture, IND filing, and clinical contracting. 

“This award validates our efforts as we look to bring new therapies to cancer patients,” said Sharma. “The early work with our agent is promising, and this grant will provide the resources to further validate our findings and work toward a clinical trial.” 

SR-8541a is an immuno-oncology therapeutic that will harness the power of the innate immune system. The hope is that it will act as a checkpoint inhibitor and allow the body to reactivate the immune system and work in combination with many other cancer therapies to combat tumor growth. Checkpoints act as walls that the cancer throws up to stop the bodies’ T cells and antibodies from being able to access and naturally destroy the tumor from the inside out. When the body’s immune system stops seeing the tumors they can grow unperturbed.

“We are thrilled to receive a direct to phase 2 award on the first try and to have it accelerated to begin immediately,” said Jon Northrup, Stingray CEO and co-founder. “SR-8541a holds great promise to help cancer patients and this SBIR  award helps fund the remaining steps required to take this promising drug to clinic.”

As part of the award, Mohan Kaadige, Ph.D., a research associate professor in TGen’s Applied Cancer Research and Drug Discovery division, will join Stingray for the majority of his time, while maintaining his professorship at TGen.

“I am enormously pleased to lead the Stingray team on this SBIR award as primary investigator. I have been associated with the program since its beginning and believe we have great potential to alleviate cancer suffering in the near future with this exciting technology.”   

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Safe Harbor Statement 
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the TGen and Stingray’s beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. These factors include, but are not limited to, (i) scientific risk inherent in new drug development, (ii) capital and market volatility, (iii) local and global economic conditions, (iv) governmental approvals and regulations, and (vi) our future business development, results of operations and financial condition. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “target,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “potential,” “continue,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and neither Stingray nor TGen undertakes any duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law. 

About Stingray Therapeutics
Stingray Therapeutics is working on an exciting new effort to fight cancer with 2nd generation immune-oncology agents. Current efforts in this field are the equivalent of trying to do it with one hand of the immune system tied behind its back. At Stingray, we are unleashing the full immune system to take this fight to an entirely new level. The first generation of immune-oncology therapies, checkpoint inhibitors, leverage adaptive immunity (one arm of the immune system) to counter cancer’s immunosuppressive “checkpoints.” However, many patients develop resistance or are non- responsive to treatment given tumors are “cold” (cancer unrecognized by the adaptive immune system). Stingray is working on therapies that re-activate innate immunity, the other major arm of our immune system which should make many more cancers responsive to immune oncology therapy.

Stingray Media Contact
Jon Northrup 
[email protected]

About TGen, part of City of Hope
Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life-changing results. TGen is part of City of Hope, a world-renowned independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. This precision medicine affiliation enables both institutes to complement each other in research and patient care, with City of Hope providing a significant clinical setting to advance scientific discoveries made by TGen. TGen is focused on helping patients with neurological disorders, cancer, diabetes and infectious diseases through cutting-edge translational research (the process of rapidly moving research toward patient benefit). TGen physicians and scientists work to unravel the genetic components of both common and complex rare diseases in adults and children. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities worldwide, TGen makes a substantial contribution to help patients through efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. 

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