– Cellth Technology Provides Critical Insight into Metastatic Cancer and Optimal Drug Selection Therapy
– Company Recently Awarded $150,000 in Funding from TEDCO’s Maryland Innovation Initiative
BALTIMORE, MD, JUNE 13, 2017 – The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park have granted Cellth Systems exclusive licensing rights for the commercial development of cell-tethering technology that allows real-time analysis of circulating tumor cells (CTCs), which has important applications in cancer treatment. In addition, Cellth announced today that TEDCO, an independent organization assisting and funding Maryland’s startup community, has awarded the company $150,000 through its Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) program.
“The jointly developed UM Baltimore and UM College Park technology licensed to Cellth allows researchers, for the first time, to study and quantify real-time phenotypic changes in CTCs when exposed to a battery of chemotherapeutic drugs,” said Philip J. Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer with UM Ventures, an initiative to channel the technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland.
The presence of CTCs in the blood of individuals with cancer is an early indication of disease spread and correlates with survival rate. However, simply enumerating CTCs has not provided researchers and physicians with actionable information to improve care. Previously, there have been no technologies to determine how CTCs respond to drug treatments. Since the critical metastatic functions of CTCs occur in non-adherent (free floating) states like the bloodstream and lymphatic system, a technological device system is needed for analysis of CTCs that preserves this environment.
“Cellth’s technology tethers cells in minutes, permitting immediate, detailed, quantitative, real-time examination. There is no need for cells to grow or express proteins, avoiding the traditional weeks- to months-long cell growth process, and yielding a drug-response study within an hour,” said Stuart Martin, PhD, co-inventor of the technology, who is Professor in the Department of Physiology and Program in Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and is affiliated with the UM Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Richard Hughen, a 30-year medical device veteran, will lead Cellth System’s efforts as CEO of the company. “The ability to directly study CTC phenotype profile change provides critical understanding of metastatic disease progression and optimal drug selection. The technology platform has strong potential for acceleration of drug development as well as analysis of many other cell types,” stated Mr. Hughen. “The TEDCO-MII award to advance the device toward commercialization gives Cellth a strong vote of confidence. This device will deliver highly actionable information that directly benefits individuals with cancer.”
About Cellth Systems, LLC
Cellth Systems, LLC, is a Maryland start-up company working to commercialize proprietary cell-tethering technology to advance patient-specific cancer drug selection and accelerate drug development. It is one of the portfolio companies of InnovateTech Ventures, which specializes in building startups by combining high-potential university technology with investment capital and management talent.
About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, and by providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners, UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets and more start-up ventures. Visit http://umventures.org to learn more.