Sus Clinicals, Inc. Announces New License Agreement for Advancement in Cancer-Related Research

Patent-Pending Technology from the University of Illinois Leverages Large Animal Model to Accelerate Pre-Clinical Testing for Cancer Therapies

Cincinnati, Ohio, May 1, 2020 — Sus Clinicals, Inc. announced it has secured an exclusive license agreement to commercialize technology developed by the University of Illinois to accelerate pre-clinical cancer research.  The patent-pending protocols have the potential to help cancer researchers accelerate development and qualification of therapies across a range of cancers.

The licensed technology leverages the University’s extensive experience with various animal models for research.  The licensed technology, the Oncopig Cancer ModelTM (OCM) was pioneered by Dr. Lawrence Schook, the Edward William and Jane Marr Gutsgell Professor of Animal Sciences and Radiology at the University of Illinois.  Dr. Schook and his team saw the value in using pigs for cancer research, given pigs have inherent advantages due to their anatomical, physiological and genetic similarities to humans.  Dr. Schook was involved in the sequencing the pig in 2012, which identified significant similarities to humans. 

The OCM approach involves introducing site-specific tumors in the test animals, allowing researchers to evaluate efficacy as well as any toxicity concerns in ways that can be highly predictive of results in humans.  Further, the porcine OCM model provides for the introduction of co-morbidities which can have a significant impact on clinical trials.  For example, researchers may want to understand how a new liver cancer therapy affects or is affected by a co-morbidity such as cirrhosis.

Benefits to clinical researchers are numerous and include:

  • Ability to evaluate medical devices, many of which are incompatible with other animal (e.g. mouse) models simply due to relative sizes; 
  • More predictive screening prior to human trials, in going from testing in mice to minimize the time and expense of false positives from human trials; and
  • Cost-effective way to assess various dosing regimens, and drug/therapeutic combinations, which also pave the way for increased odds of successful outcomes in subsequent human trials.

Sus Clinicals (named for Sus scrofa, the species used for the OCM research) is a new venture led by Jeff Weedman, Co-founder and CEO.  Mr. Weedman is a former Procter & Gamble executive who also has extensive experience in the start-up and entrepreneurial space.  “I’ve seen dozens of start-ups, and have chosen to coach, mentor and invest in a number of opportunities,” said Mr. Weedman.  “Bringing this proprietary technology to market is the first venture that has made me want to jump back into an operational role.  I couldn’t be more excited to build this new business, and help cancer researchers save lives.”

Dr. Schook, Co-Founder of the Company, commented on the need for technology: “The mouse is a great animal for initial research.  But when you get into the therapeutic side, the translation side, that’s where the limitations become clear.  You can’t use instruments; you can’t use radiation.  The Oncopig can bridge that gap between mice and humans.”

Sus Clinicals is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, with scientific facilities in Chicago and Urbana, Illinois.

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