ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - STC.UNM (STC), the technology-transfer arm of the University of New Mexico, has signed an option agreement for the exclusive distribution and commercialization rights for a tumor-specific imaging agent for the diagnosis and therapeutic treatment of leukemia and lymphoma with NuView Radiopharmaceuticals of Park City, Utah. NuView has also entered into a research agreement with the University of New Mexico to further develop the technology.

"We are very pleased to have entered into this arrangement with NuView," said Lisa Kuuttila, STC president and CEO. "The technology has the potential to help leukemia and lymphoma patients."

A small molecule that binds to LFA-1 (CD18, CD11a), an integrin cell-surface receptor specifically expressed on leukocytes, lymphoma, and leukemia cells, was recently developed by UNM researchers. The limited expression of LFA-1 by normal white blood cells, versus the significant over-expression on lymphomatous cells, coupled with the observation that lymphomas grow as mass lesions (while reactive processes tend to be diffusely infiltrating), makes LFA-1 an attractive target for non-invasive imaging.

"The need for clinically-useful, non-invasive molecular imaging technique specific to lymphoma is very great," said Jeff Norenberg, PharmD, associate professor and director of UNM Radiopharmaceutical Sciences. "Molecular imaging of lymphoma could improve early diagnosis, staging, and monitoring of therapy in patients with lymphoma."

With the use of this agent, a radiolabeled small molecule that binds LFA-1 could be employed as a non-invasive imaging agent in several clinical scenarios, particularly to determine if extranodal masses are lymphomatous.

"In addition to its diagnostic potential, binding of a therapeutic isotope to this agent could lead to a novel targeted radiotherapeutic drug to treat lymphoma, said Peter Conti, MD, NuView medical director. "We are looking forward to exploring both opportunities with the UNM investigators."

STC.UNM (STC) is a nonprofit corporation formed and owned entirely by the University of New Mexico (UNM). The mission of STC is to support UNM and its partners as the source for innovation management and commercial development. STC does this by connecting the business community to UNM; protecting and transferring intellectual property and faculty inventions to the commercial marketplace; and by assisting companies and organizations that wish to access facilities, expertise, and research conducted at the University. As STC has evolved, the corporation not only assists UNM faculty, but students, outside inventors, and entrepreneurs alike.

NuView Radiopharmaceuticals, a Utah-based, life-sciences company, is focused on identifying and developing emerging novel diagnostic or targeted therapies. NuView partners with private enterprise and university-based researchers whom have developed promising new products which may offer significant improvement over current diagnostic or therapeutic approaches for cardiology and cancer disorders. NuView also distributes approved pharmaceutical and medical-device products routinely utilized in clinical practice today. For more information on NuView, call (435) 647-9758 or visitwww.nuviewinfo.com.

The UNM College of Pharmacy is the oldest health professional program in New Mexico and the birthplace of commercial radiopharmacy. Since the early 1970’s, the College has trained dozens of nuclear pharmacists, residents and graduate students in nuclear pharmacy. The College, in partnership with the UNM Cancer Research and Treatment Center and Los Alamos National Laboratory, is also the home of the New Mexico Center for Isotopes in Medicine. The mission of the College is to develop innovative leaders in pharmaceutical care and research who enhance the quality of life for the people of New Mexico.