Coimbra has a unique medicine to treat cancer2010-12-08 in As Beiras
Within three years, if the research goes as planned, Coimbra might be able to export the most effective medicine against cancer ever conceived. With proof collected from the testing in animals, the research is about to enter the human testing stage. It is a rare moment for the Portuguese pharmaceutical industry, whose history testifies to very few innovative medicines. Despite there being no guaranties of success, the patent, which was registered in two phases – first in 2004 by the University of Coimbra (UC) and later in 2008 by Bluepharma -, represents a “promising research”, mentions the UC’s dean, Prof. Seabra Santos.
This process was initiated 15 years ago by a team of four researchers of the Chemistry Department of the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, led by Sebastião Formosinho, PhD. It is now held and carried forth by the new spin-off company.
Luzitin, presided by Sérgio Simões, PhD currently holds the intellectual property licensing of this discovery, having already negotiated the funding for the next stage, to be provided by INOVCapital, a venture capitalist company.
The upcoming clinical trials’ stage will imply millions of euros in costs, a source explained, in order to aim at a global market. Researcher Luis Arnaut, who like his colleagues is part of the new company, mentioned “it is very premature to discuss future profits, as this is a research project with an elevated risk. While underlining how “rare this type of process is in Portugal”, Luis Arnaut also explained that this new medicine is based on photodynamic therapy.