Newswise — ATLANTA--Georgia State University has signed a license agreement with Cisen Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., a comprehensive pharmaceutical enterprise in China, to develop cancer-fighting compounds designed by Georgia State researcher Dr. Binghe Wang, in collaboration with Professor Muxiang Zhou of Emory University, a cancer biologist.

As part of the agreement, Cisen Pharmaceutical will continue research collaboration with Wang and support research activity in his lab.

Georgia State and Cisen are working together to develop compounds to treat leukemia. The same compounds can be applied to numerous cancers as well.

Through the partnership, Georgia State and Cisen will conduct clinical trials and develop a product for the Chinese market. Georgia State retains the right to partner with companies worldwide to develop the product for the United States and other markets. The university is interested in engaging in additional partnerships, according to Dr. Chester Bisbee, associate vice president and director of the Office of Technology Licensing and Commercialization.

“Georgia State University is excited about our license agreement with Cisen Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.,” Bisbee said. “We look forward to our partnership and potentially developing a cancer-fighting drug for the market that could save lives and reduce the suffering caused by cancer.”

Through the inhibition of MDM2-MDM4 dimerization, the anti-cancer drug candidate regulates the levels of p53, a protein that is considered the “guardian of the genome” and induces cell death when things go awry as in the case of cancer. In some forms of cancer, the cancer cells suppress the level of p53, protecting the cancer cells. Wang has developed a group of compounds that removes cancer’s ability to suppress this protein.

“Targeting this pathway is a unique approach to fighting cancer diseases,” said Wang, a Regents Professor of Chemistry and associate dean as well as a world-renowned medicinal chemist. “Most current anti-cancer drugs are cytotoxic agents and have severe toxicity problems. This product employs targeted therapy and has great potential to become an alternative to current chemotherapeutic drugs. Our compounds show substantially reduced toxicity compared to current cancer treatments, such as doxorubicin, and strong anticancer properties.”

The compounds could potentially be worth millions of dollars, with milestone payments and royalties for Georgia State, Bisbee said.