JTA NEWS
22 September 2019 - 23 Elul 5779 - כ"ג אלול ה' אלפים תשע"ט
JTA NEWS :
South Korean firms invest in Weizmann Institute anti-cancer drug E-mail

An anti-cancer therapy that has been developed by scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Technology will receive a US$10 million investment from a South Korean biopharmaceutical company BioLeaders Corporation, which is traded on the Korea Stock Exchange. This is the firm’s first investment in an Israeli venture.

The Weizmann Institute also announced that a second sum of US$2 million will be invested by Yozma Group Asia, a VC fund, in On-Sight Medical Inc., jointly owned by Yeda Research, New York University (NYU) Medical School and other parties.

The institute said that the two Korean entities have committed to investing in two spinoff companies set up by Yeda Research and Development Co. Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Weizmann Institute of Science.

BioLeaders Corporation, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical firm, has signed a Letter of Intent with Yeda for the incorporation of a jointly owned company that will be set up in the coming months to develop the anti-cancer drug.

The drug will be based on the research of Weizmann Institute professors Varda Rotter and Moshe Oren, both of the Molecular Cell Biology Department.

Rotter and Oren were among the first to discover the function of the p53 protein – called the “guardian of the genome”. This protein is mutated or dysfunctional in over two-thirds of all cancers; such malfunctions can cause the cancer to spread faster. The two researchers recently developed a peptide – a small piece of protein – that can restore proper p53 function. The peptide they developed targets the malformed p53, and enters the cell and binds to the protein.

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