US oncology researchers Champions Biotechnology, Yale University and the Southern Research Institute have established an exclusive licensing agreement to develop Bithionol as a powerful new candidate to treat cancer.

The treatment created interest after scientists from Yale and Southern Research found that Bithionol, normally used to treat helminthic infections, showed the potential to treat melanoma, prostate, breast and lung cancer, among other cancers.

Bithionol was found to be an autotaxin (ATX) inhibitor, which has a powerful effect on angiogenesis and the promotion of cell growth, survival and differentiation. ATX increases the aggressiveness and invasiveness of transformed cells, and ATX levels directly correlate with tumour stage and grade in several human malignancies.

“We are excited to work with Champions’ experienced scientific team to translate these promising early findings towards a meaningful clinical programme by leveraging Champions’ preclinical platform,” said Demetrios Braddock, associate professor of pathology at Yale University.

Under the terms of the agreement, Champions will have exclusive rights and be responsible for the further development of Bithionol. Yale and Southern Research will in turn receive an upfront payment and be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties.