Company to pursue development of cancer therapy developed by Shepherd president’s lab

Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix’s cancer research is the subject of an article in the journal “Science.” Hendrix is shown here in her lab at the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — A new cancer therapy that Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix helped develop is one step closer to benefitting those who suffer from the disease.

TaiRx Inc., a Taiwanese biotechnology company, has entered into an agreement with Northwestern University and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago to acquire the rights to a portfolio of seven patents plus three pending patent applications using Nodal as a new target for treatment and diagnosis of aggressive cancers.

Hendrix, who served as president and chief scientific officer of Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, led the original group of Nodal inventors at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.

The research team discovered that Nodal is highly expressed in various malignant cancers, especially associated with the cancer stem cell phenotype and drug resistance to current therapies.

Hendrix’s group has shown that an antibody directed against Nodal effectively decreases tumor cell growth and induces cell death in certain tumor types.

TaiRx will further develop this technology as a new treatment strategy for targeting cancer stem cells and also as a biomarker to be used with its clinical compound, CVM-1118, which is currently in clinical Phase I development as a potential next-generation treatment for various aggressive cancers.