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Targeting the Ribosome: taking on platinum resistance in solid ovarian tumors in a safer way!

Today we’ve got Dr. Jonathan Arambula and Dr. Krystle Karoscik of InnovoTex, an oncology therapeutics company developing a platform of smart molecules capable of circumventing drug resistance often seen in treating ovarian cancer. They’re doing it in a safer way – hear about all this and more by listening to the show!

The need for improved ovarian cancer treatment is huge. Ovarian cancer impacts about 300,000 women on an annual basis globally. About one third of those women are impacted by solid tumors, and 80-90% of them will encounter platinum resistance.

Before we get into that more, though, let’s talk about the science behind the innovations that InnovoTEX is making.

Now for some alphabet soup…

InnovoTEX creates TDC’s that deliver payloads directly in to the tumor.

Wait - what’s a TDC?

First let’s talk about Texaphrins. A Texaphyrin is a macrocycle. An example is heme, which gives red blood cells their red color. Texaphyrins are an expanded heme molecule, almost in the shape of a doughnut. In the middle you can incorporate large metals. This way, you can monitor the tumor localization of these Texaphrins being delivered to the tumor.

A TDC is a Texaphyrin drug conjugate. It is basically a medicine that delivers chemotherapy to kill cancer cells.

InnovoTEX uses Texaphyrins as a delivery mechanism for anti-cancer payloads. They have a platform that allows them to incorporate a tumor-localizing vector, a Texaphyrin, into TDC development. Their treatment is for tumors that are showing platinum drug resistance. Platinum is resisted in two ways; the resistance is either intrinsic or acquired.

Why is platinum resistance so challenging?

Platinum drugs are designed to damage cancer cell DNA. Once a cell is damaged, it goes through arrest and tries to repair itself.  It was discovered by MIT that not all platinums are created equal. The greasier ones don’t damage the cancer DNA as well. They target the ribosome which allows them to circumvent the resistance factors.

Why is it better?

The short answer is that it’s safer. Because it is in a pro drug form, they can dose a higher amount. A prodrug delivers an anti-cancer agent in a different form than its active form. The payload only generates the active form once it arrives in the cancer. As a result, there is much higher tolerability because it creates fewer adverse events while it’s being delivered.

There is a need for more effective oncology therapeutics that will improve the quality of life for women and increase survival. And InnovoTEX is one of the leaders making great headway. There’s way more in store here so take a listen to the show!




About Jonathan Arambula

Dr. Arambula has held the position of CEO and a member of the board of directors since May 2022. Previously, Dr. Arambula served as VP of Research then CEO at OncoTEX from Nov. 2019 to Sept. 2021. Dr. Arambula is a world-leading scientist that has over 15 years of experience in drug discovery and development of cancer therapeutics. He is also a co-inventor of OxaliTEX and the TEX Core technology that is being developed by InnovoTEX. Dr. Arambula holds a BS with honors in Chemistry from Baylor Univ. and a PhD in Chemistry from the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the Univ. of Texas at Austin and MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Arambula has held a number of appointments at leading US research universities in addition to co-founding the oncology drug startup Cible, Inc., in 2016. To date, he has co-authored 29 peer reviewed publications and is the co-inventor on 18 patents and patent applications involving 2 different anticancer small-molecule discovery platforms.

About Krystle Karoscik

Dr. Karoscik has held the position of COO since May 2022. Previously, Dr. Karoscik served as Director of Development Operations at OncoTEX Inc., Director of Portfolio Management and Operations, clinical trial operations lead and strategist for Clinical Research Organizations, and fractional executive positions for early-stage therapeutic development companies. Dr. Karoscik holds dual Master's Degrees in Neuroscience and Bioethics and a Doctorate in Entrepreneurship. She is the recipient of numerous Innovation Excellence awards for the development of therapeutic infrastructure programs from within the university ecosystem. 



The information contained in this website and podcast are purely informational and not considered investment recommendations.  Tim Dougherty’s participation in Biotech Insights is separate and apart from his role as an investment advisor representative. Nothing contained herein may be construed as a recommendation or endorsement of any of the companies discussed. Tim Dougherty has no financial affiliation with any of the companies mentioned in this communication. Tim Dougherty makes no representation that the information conveyed in this material is accurate and is under no obligation to update this information as changes occur.

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