Shasqi, Inc. wins NIH SBIR Phase I Grant

InteliSpark client Shasqi, Inc. has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I Grant from the National Cancer Institute, for their project “Material Guided Drug Delivery for Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis using an Implantable Biomaterial and Bio-Orthogonal Chemistry”. Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) is a condition that affects approximately 1.8 people per million (about 600 people) in the U.S. each year. It is a chronic, progressive neoplastic process that causes synovial lining of a joint, bursa, or tendon sheath to thicken and overgrow in an aggressive manner with a very low risky of metastasis. PVNS is most commonly seen in people 20-45 years old and can be focal or diffuse. There is a 40-50% chance of local reoccurrence in the diffuse form of PVNS, with traditional treatment strategies. Treatment for PVNS is a challenge due to the benign yet aggressive behavior of the condition

Shasqi will address this issue with their development of drug delivery technology, designed to improve the therapeutic index of drugs. This technology consists of a biocompatible biomaterial, and a prodrug (an inactivated drug), both of which contain biorthogonal reagents which allow for them to react only with each other. The biomaterial will be physically placed at the desired location in the body, then the prodrug will be injected into the blood stream when needed. This will allow for reaction only amongst the two, and ultimately the active drug will be released from the gel to perform its function on the designated part of the body. Shasqi envisions this advancement in drug technology to be applicable to PVNS treatment.

Shasqi’s system will effectively turn systemic drugs into localized medicines. For the treatment of PVNS patients, the placement of this technology would be to occur following surgical resection. The surgeon would be able to place the biomaterial around the surgical cavity and treat the patient with a prodrug of a CSF1R inhibitor to secure clean margins. Additional gel injections can be given at sites of unresectable tumors. Additionally, the technology can be used as a neoadjuvant treatment to improve the outcome of subsequent surgical resection, in the case that tumors are too large to be removed or would require invasive surgical intervention.