Aphios Awarded Contract from National Cancer Institute for Isolation of Natural Anticancer Drugs
July 17, 2001
Woburn, MA — Aphios Corporation has been awarded a Fast Track SBIR contract entitled "SuperFluids™ Isolation of Natural Anticancer Drugs" from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"The objective of NCI's (SBIR) initiative is to develop a process for the extraction and purification of potential anticancer, natural product drugs from a variety of plant, marine organism or microbial sources. Many of these products will be useful commercial targets and will be needed in large quantities, first for the drug development studies and, if proven successful, for the commercialization of the drug . . . The Developmental Therapeutics Program of the National Cancer Institute currently has several products under investigation which could be considered as candidates for isolation and purification using the SCFE (supercritical fluid extraction) technique, including two that have progressed to the level of clinical projects (geldanamycin and bryostatin)." US Department of Health and Human Services, PHS 2001-1, Nov. 30, 2000. Through similar initiatives, the National Cancer Institute discovered and developed Taxol™, the most potent and important anticancer drug developed to date with a market value of approximately $2 billion in 2000.

Aphios has developed and broadly patented several SuperFluids technologies for the discovery, isolation, manufacturing and delivery of natural pharmaceuticals such as the anticancer drugs Taxol®, Bryostatin 1 and camptothecin. SuperFluids™ are near-critical and supercritical fluids used with or without polar cosolvents. These fluids are normally gases, such as carbon dioxide, which when compressed, exhibit enhanced thermodynamic properties. SuperFluids™ technologies are rapid, selective and cost-effective. SuperFluids™ are also environmentally friendly since they eliminate or minimize the use of toxic organic solvents while utilizing renewable natural resources.

"Conventional extraction and purification processes often require solvent extraction of kilogram quantities of biomass with halogenated solvents which, in addition to being very costly to purchase and to dispose of, also contribute to the pollution of the environment. Subsequent purification of a crude extract also requires repetitive chromatography that once again frequently employs halogenated solvents . . . The [Developmental Therapeutics] Program [of the National Cancer Institute] is currently using conventional methods for the preparation of natural product drug candidates and will assist in providing starting materials for the process, reference standards of the final products, and analytical validation methods for the final products....The Program is privy to broad experience in the production of both synthetic and natural product bulk drug products and can make valuable contributions to the final process that would help make it more commercially attractive if the compound is successful in preclinical and clinical evaluation." op. cit., 2000.

Aphios Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company which is developing enhanced therapeutics for health maintenance and the treatment of human diseases with a focus on cancer, CNS disorders, AIDS and other infectious diseases. Aphios Corporation has developed several enabling technology platforms for improving the discovery, manufacturing, delivery and safety of therapeutic drugs, and has several enhanced therapeutic drugs in development.

Taxol™ is a registered trademark of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company