University of Toronto's Innovations Foundation commercializes promising cancer therapeutic

Toronto 15 June 2004The University of Toronto Innovations Foundation (UTIF), University of Toronto's Commercialization Office, has entered into an exclusive agreement with LISI Therapeutics Inc., granting LISI sole rights to the patented technology, Verotoxin (VT-1). Discovered by Dr. Hannah Farkas-Himsley, University of Toronto; Dr. Cliff Lingwood, The Hospital for Sick Children; and Dr. Richard Hill, University Health Network, VT-1 is a member of the family of shiga toxins that targets cancer cells through its dual action structure identifying, and selectively killing cancer cells. VT-1 targets the Gb3 receptors expressed on the cell surface of certain types of cancer, such as ovarian, breast and brain cancer.

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"Verotoxin is a breakthrough in cancer treatment", stated Monique Lisi-Del Medico, Co-founder of LISI. "LISI Therapeutics is all about making an impact in people's lives. This agreement will assist us in our mission to develop therapeutics for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. We will actively pursue the development of this promising cancer therapeutic, in order to give patients more treatment options."

UTIF represented the inventors and owners of the VT-1 technology in effecting the technology commercialization agreement. The agreement provides LISI with the exclusive right to exploit the patented VT-1 technology, subject to achieving certain research and development milestones.

"This therapeutic is a novel step forward for cancer research, particularly drug resistant forms. Verotoxin has anti-neoplastic and potential anti-angiogenic activity, which in combination, make a powerful new approach to cancer treatment", stated Dr. Cliff Lingwood, a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children. "We are very excited about the potential benefits Verotoxin will bring to the medical field, and community at-large. UTIF managed the technology transfer of this technology, and was a key factor in bringing it to market, identifying and securing the agreement with Lisi, and ensuring that all commercialization processes were handled accurately and efficiently."

"We are very proud of the success to date resulting from our commercialization efforts on behalf of Verotoxin", stated Dr. George Adams, President and CEO of UTIF. "We are very optimistic in regards to the future of this technology and believe that the right elements are in place for continued success through this agreement with LISI."

The University of Toronto Innovations Foundation's (UTIF) goal is to maximize the impact of the more than $2 million spent every day on research at Canada's leading university and the associated institutions. UTIF was founded in 1980 to help researchers capitalize on unique opportunities in a variety of technologies. Staffed by over 20 professionals with a wide variety of technology and business experiences, UTIF is specialized in the field of technology commercialization. UTIF also manages the Exceler@tor, a business incubator for ambitious start-up companies.

LISI Therapeutics Inc. is an Ontario-based biotechnology Research & Development company founded to develop therapeutic entities for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. LISI seeks to in-license technologies which are at late stage pre-clinical development status and add value through clinical development programs. The company intends to seek industrial partners for late stage clinical development and commercialization.

The company’s initial focus is the clinical development of VT-1, an anti-cancer agent from the University of Toronto Innovations Foundation. VT-1 is a potent cytotoxic agent which specifically targets cancer cells bearing a cell-surface receptor specific to VT-1, potentially offering a tumour-specific anti-cancer therapeutic.


Leslie Versweyveld

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