UCSF Spinoff Aims to Crowdfund Studies to Test Ebola Hypothesis
San Francisco, California – OncoSynergy announced the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to fund a study testing their experimental cancer drug, OS2966, for ebola infection. The growing ebola crisis in west Africa has been declared a Public Health Emergency of Global Concern by the World Health Organization with a death toll exceeding 1,000 victims.
OS2966 is a monoclonal antibody drug candidate being investigated in multiple models of highly aggressive cancers. OS2966 inhibits CD29, a major cellular adhesion receptor fundamental to cancer progression. Coincidentally, it is also thought CD29, which is highly enriched in the body’s normal blood vessels, is hijacked by the ebola virus during infection. The proposed studies will examine whether OS2966 can block ebola infection in cultured human vascular cells.
“We have a unique opportunity to potentially effect a major impact on the current global ebola crisis,” said Dr. W. Shawn Carbonell, MD, PhD, Founder and CEO of OncoSynergy. “However, as a seed stage biotech startup with 6 employees, we don’t have the bandwidth to take on projects beyond our central mission focused on cancer. We are teaming up with Science Exchange and Experiment to accomplish the initial experiments which are an important first step towards possible clinical testing of OS2966. We now need the public’s help to fund the work so we can start as soon as possible.”
“I am pleased to be working with Dr. Carbonell on this timely project,” commented Dr. Elizabeth Iorns, PhD, the Founder and CEO of Palo Alto-based Science Exchange, an online marketplace for scientific collaboration. “This is a great example of how the Science Exchange platform can help facilitate science and accelerate scientific discoveries.”
San Francisco-based Experiment (formerly Microryza), a platform for crowdfunding science projects, is hosting the OncoSynergy fundraising campaign.
OncoSynergy has potentially dozens of OS2966 doses on hand should the project advance to human testing. Dr. Carbonell further noted OS2966 production is standard and it can be readily manufactured at clinical scale in a matter of weeks by any commercial biologics facility.