TamRx Launches to Develop Pipeline of Immuno-oncology Products for Treatment of Cancers

BioMotiv, a drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, and researchers from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, announced the formation of a new biotech start-up, TamRx. The new company will focus on the development of a novel family of small molecule inhibitors designed to block tumor growth and stimulate the immune system to fight various forms of cancer.

“The potential held by this novel technology to both block tumor growth and elicit an anti-tumor immune response is very exciting,” said Baiju R. Shah, CEO of BioMotiv. “We look forward to working with Drs. Birge, Welsh, and Peng as they advance their discoveries with the TamRx team.”

The TamRx technology was developed by scientific founders Ray Birge of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, William Welsh of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Youyi Peng of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and other researchers. The technology blocks ligand (Gas6) binding, thereby inhibiting TAM (Tyro3, Axl, and Mertk)-mediated activation of cellular processes that may lead to aggressive growth and spread of tumors. In addition to blocking tumor growth and metastasis, the pan-TAM inhibitors work as anticancer agents to indirectly promote an anti-tumor immune response. The TamRx technology is expected to work in combination with immuno-oncology therapies—including checkpoint inhibitors—in a wide variety of cancers.

The TAM family of receptor tyrosine kinases are implicated in a wide spectrum of human cancers in which TAM over-expression is clinically-associated with both an aggressive tumor grade and poor survival outcomes. TamRx’s pipeline of small molecule inhibitors target the TAM-Gas6 interface. The TamRx inhibitors are advantageous due to their extracellular activity and ability to target all three receptors.

According to Drs. Birge, Welsh, and Peng, this new approach to fighting cancer and boosting the immune response shows promise to be a real game-changer in the oncology field. The Rutgers researchers are “excited to work with BioMotiv and the team at TamRx to advance this technology.”

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