In a pioneering partnership that could lead to new treatments for periodontal disease, Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine and Traverse Biosciences have received a $1.3 million award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The funding is intended to further evaluate the pre-clinical safety and effectiveness of the Traverse’s leading drug candidate, TRB-N0224, for the treatment of periodontal disease. The research will be led by Lorne Golub, DMD, in the Department of Oral Biology and Pathology, and Ying Gu, PhD, DDS, in the Department of General Dentistry at the School of Dental Medicine. They will serve as co-principle investigators of the award, in close collaboration with Traverse Biosciences.
Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world, includes the major conditions of gingivitis and periodontitis, and is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the prevalence of periodontitis in U.S. adults aged 30 years and older is 47.2% (64.7 million people). Periodontal disease has also been associated with other chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and various cancers. Periodontal disease also impacts companion animals, including dogs, cats and horses. Canine periodontal disease affects approximately 80% of dogs by the age of three, with the highest incidence in smaller breeds and older animals.
In 2015, Traverse Biosciences signed an exclusive, worldwide license agreement with the Research Foundation for the State University of New York to develop a drug to treat canine periodontal disease. The leading drug candidate that has emerged and will be evaluated under the this NIDCR grant is derived from laboratory discoveries by Dr. Golub and Dr. Francis Johnson, President of Chem-Master International Inc., and Professor of Chemistry and Pharmacological Sciences at Stony brook University. They developed a library of drug candidates that are chemically-modified curcumins, which are designed to treat inflammation. The patents for the novel compounds list Drs. Golub and Johnson as the inventors. Traverse Biosciences will evaluate TRB-N0224 for the treatment of periodontal disease in both humans and animals.
“I am very pleased that Traverse Biosciences has been able to attract the financial resources necessary to advance this highly collaborative research and development program,” said Dr. Golub, SUNY Distinguished Professor and also a Scientific Co-Founder of Traverse Biosciences. “With this critical support from NIDCR, we can accelerate the commercialization of this platform technology for the treatment of periodontal disease, as well as a variety of other chronic inflammatory conditions.”
Joseph Scaduto, MS, MBA, Founder and CEO of Traverse Biosciences, stated, “We are working to successfully commercialize TRB-N0224 as an FDA-approved pharmaceutical intervention for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in both humans and companion animals, including periodontal disease.” He added, “This award from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research provides an infusion of non-dilutive capital that will allow us to demonstrate the pre-clinical safety and efficacy of this lead drug candidate.”
Dr. Gu, Associate Professor of Dentistry, commented, “I look forward to evaluating the therapeutic efficacy of TRB-N0224 to treat periodontal disease, and I am very pleased to work with Traverse Biosciences on this project. I strongly believe there is a need to develop new and improved therapeutics to manage chronic inflammatory diseases such as periodontitis. With this grant, we, as a team with Dr. Hsi-Ming Lee, a Research Assistant Professor in Oral Biology and Pathology, will be able to advance our research from bench top to chair side, from idea to commercialization.” She added, “It is exciting to work closely with a new venture to develop a promising biomedical technology invented here at Stony Brook University”
Dr. Maria Ryan, a Co-Investigator on the award and Chair of the Department of Oral Biology and Pathology said, “The Department of Oral Biology and Pathology has been a prolific source of innovation throughout its history with numerous products successfully developed and commercialized. I am so proud to see this legacy continue with the invention of TRB-N0224 and our fruitful partnership with Traverse Biosciences.”
The NIDCR award is defined as a Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant. Some of the STTR funding goes directly to the laboratory of Drs. Golub and Gu, and the work they and colleagues are doing evaluating the compounds in the School of Dental Medicine. The other portion of the funding goes to Traverse Bioscience for drug development and commercialization.