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RALEIGH – Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies (ACT), Inc., a clinical-stage drug delivery company, announced Wednesday that it has been awarded a Phase IIb Small Business Innovation research (SBIR) grant expected to total $4 million over two years from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. The grant, in combination with prior financing, supports development of the company’s ACT-IOP-003 local drug delivery system for the treatment of locally advanced non-resectable and borderline resectable pancreatic cancer.

Pancreatic cancer is a devastating disease with 5-year survival rates of only 10%. New treatment modalities are desperately needed and ACT is developing the ACT-IOP-003 system for the targeted delivery of the FDA-approved chemotherapy treatment gemcitabine. ACT-IOP-003 enables the delivery of significantly higher concentrations directly to the tumor than achievable in systemic delivery, while also minimizing the systemic exposure and toxicity. This approach offers three major advantages over traditional systemic chemotherapy: (1) superior delivery of chemotherapy to the targeted tumor cells that are often shrouded in stroma within growing tumors, greatly increasing the amount of drug to treat the growing tumor, (2) tumor shrinkage that can enable surgical resection, the only curative treatment for pancreatic cancer, and (3) greatly decreased systemic toxicity so that the patient can better tolerate conventional approaches to their treatment.

William Daunch PhD., ACT’s Chief Technology Officer will serve as the Principal Investigator on the grant. Dr. Daunch says, “We are thrilled and encouraged that NCI has chosen to award us this highly competitive Phase IIb grant. It demonstrates the NIH’s positive recognition of the work we completed in our earlier phases, as well as their continued confidence in our program to accelerate this potentially life extending treatment to patients.”

NIH sponsored grant programs are an integral source of capital for early-stage U.S. small businesses that are creating innovative technologies to improve human health. These programs help small businesses break into the federal research and development arena, create life-saving technologies, and stimulate economic growth. ACT is honored to be a recipient of this competitive award from the NIH/NCI and looks forward to advancing treatment for pancreatic cancer patients and expanding its local drug delivery technology in new indications.