University of Sussex spinout Stingray Bio has entered into an evaluation agreement with ValiRx, a life science company focusing on early-stage cancer therapeutics and women’s health, to test the suitability of a cancer treatment technology for commercialisation.

Building on research at Sussex, leading cancer researchers in the School of Life Sciences, Professor Georgios Giamas and Professor John Spencer launched Stingray Bio in 2021, to develop new therapies for breast cancers and potentially other cancer types. The new agreement with ValiRx is a big step in the path to commercialising new therapeutics for cancer patients.

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Using a target-based drug design approach, Stingray Bio has developed a lead series of molecules that could be a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer. During the preclinical evaluation, ValiRx will investigate the action of these molecules against a range of cancer types. Through innovative research at ValiRx’s Inaphea Biolabs, and the use of patient derived cells from its recently acquired Imagen biobank, ValiRx aims to realise the commercial potential of Stingray’s scientific contributions in new cancer therapeutics.

Professor Georgios Giamas said: “I am delighted with our work and discoveries at Stingray Bio during the last couple of years. The agreement with ValiRx is a confirmation of our progress and hopefully it will help us achieve our ultimate goal of developing novel targeted cancer therapies.”

Jeff Roix, CEO of Stinray Bio, commented: “We look forward to further progress in our evaluation agreement with ValiRx. With great innovation provided by its Inaphaea team and novel Imagen assets, we believe ValiRx’s efforts can help realise the commercial potential of StingRay’s founding contributions in new cancer therapeutics.”

Dr Suzy Dilly, CEO of ValiRx, added: “It is hugely exciting to have another evaluation agreement commencing, particularly one such as this which has a high pedigree of medicinal chemistry behind it to build the lead series of molecules for us to continue its optimisation.  I’m looking forward to working closely with the team at StingRay to continue the project.”

Professor Georgios Giamas spoke to Sussex Innovation’s Peter Lane for the Sussex Founders podcast last year about his experiences of early stage commercial development as an academic spinout. Listen to the episode here.