Deciphera Pharmaceuticals could receive a $390,000 boost for cancer research from the Kansas Bioscience Authority.
On Monday, the KBA investment committee recommended supporting the Lawrence-based company as part of the KBA’s research and development voucher program, which is designed to give early-stage support for projects that have both high potential and high risk. The committee’s recommendations will be passed on to the entire KBA board.
Deciphera would make a $1.75 million match to KBA’s $390,000 investment. The money would help finance three programs that are researching cancer-fighting drugs specific to protein kinases. Deciphera will work with two other Kansas companies: Xenometrics in Stilwell and Xenotech in Lenexa.
This is the first time that Deciphera has asked the KBA for support, said Michael Rafferty, Deciphera’s vice president of pre-clinical development.
The KBA’s investment committee also agreed to support another cancer project. The committee recommended giving almost $250,000 for the Kansas University Cancer Center to study how Omega-3 fatty acids could help prevent breast cancer in premenopausal women.
The project will look at whether Omega-3 fatty acids can change cellular and molecular risk indicators in breast tissue and blood and whether they can reduce actual cases of breast cancer in animals.
As of now, tamoxifen is the only FDA-approved drug that reduces the risk for breast cancer. But that drug comes with side effects.
KU professor of hematology and oncology Carol Fabian, the lead researcher on the project, said healthy women aren’t interested in taking drugs that come with side effects. But they are willing to take natural food products and additives to prevent breast cancer.