Biotech vets launch new cancer drug developer

A pair of biotech veterans has licensed in tumor treatment technology from the University of Oregon and launched a new drug discovery outfit called Cascade ProDrug in Eugene.

Don Gerhart, UO associate vice president for research and innovation, told the Register-Guard that the technology had been developed through years of collaboration between Professor John Keana and Novacea. Novacea, though, lost a key collaboration with Schering-Plough in 2008, forcing it to cut its staff by more than half. The struggling Novacea reportedly left the IT with the university, which licensed it to the new company in exchange for equity. Novacea announced a deal to merge with Transcept in 2008.

Founders Augie Sick, formerly with Life Technologies, and Allan Cochrane are putting the company together. But they're staying in stealth mode for now. "We are not really ready to say more about the company and its plans at this point," Cochrane told the Register-Guard in an e-mail. "The next six months are assembling the team and developing the operating plan to continue preclinical trials."

- here's the story from the Register-Guard