March 28, 2019

Phio Pharmaceuticals to partner with Dutch firm on cancer treatments

Photo | Courtesy
Gerrit Dispersyn became the new CEO of Phio Pharmaceuticals in March.

Marlborough startup biotech Phio Pharmaceuticals will collaborate with a Dutch company to develop immunotherapies for cancer treatment.

The research collaboration between the company and Glycostem Therapeutics BV will explore the potential synergies in the company's RNAi technology and Glycostem's Natural Killer-cell generation technology.

Teams for each company will work to see if the Phio's sd-rxRNA technology can help the production of Natural Killer cells with the ultimate goal of improving Glycostem's cellular immunotherapies in cancer patients.

Phio has been seeking this kind of collaboration agreement since last year, when it announced it was reorganizing to focus on cancer treatment platforms and market its other businesses, like its dermatology unit.

In a statement, Phio CEO Gerrit Dispersyn said the company looks forward to partnering wit a leading cellular immunotherapy firm.

"Glycostem's focus on safe and cost-effective allogeneic approaches with the promise of providing off-the-shelf cellular products very much aligns with our vision on the use of innovative technology to create a next generation of very powerful adoptive cell therapies against various cancers," Dispersyn said.

The news sent the company's stock up more than 8 percent Thursday morning, thought it remains under 47 cents per share.

The company had virtually no sources of revenue for 2018, reporting $138,000 in revenues last year, according to financial results released Wednesday.

Cash on hand, however, was $14.9 million, which the company said provides runway into the second half of 2020.

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