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Margie Smith-Simmons
Director, news and media, IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013

New childhood leukemia therapy to be developed with grant presented to ApeX Therapeutics

July 18, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- ApeX Therapeutics, a cancer-focused drug discovery and development company with technology licensed from Indiana University Research and Technology Corp., has received a Phase I, Small Business Innovation Research grant for $240,332 from the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health to develop an oral or injectable medicine to more effectively treat leukemia and other cancerous tumors in children.

Because childhood leukemia that has relapsed or does not respond to treatment is often associated with a grave prognosis, there is keen interest in research that translates into effective therapeutics benefiting this population of about 6,000 children per year.

"This grant and recent investments will enable progress to the next milestone: a pre-investigational new drug meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish a safe and efficient path to first-in-human trials in several different types of leukemia," said Martin Haslanger, CEO of ApeX Therapeutics and the grant's principal investigator.

ApeX Therapeutics, funded in part by the Innovate Indiana Fund and the Pearl Street Venture Fund, has also identified a novel therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common cancer diagnosed in children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"While great strides have been made in the treatment and outcomes for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, there still exist those who do not respond to the standard treatments in this and other pediatric leukemias," said Mark R. Kelley, associate director of the IU Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research and chief scientific founder of ApeX Therapeutics. "There is still much room for improvement."