BALTIMORE, Oct. 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- University of Maryland (UM) Ventures and Educational and Scientific LLC (ESL), announced today that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) granted ESL exclusive licensing rights to its interest in the commercial development of a molecule whose anticancer properties were jointly discovered by ESL and UMB. The molecule has consistently demonstrated its potential for the treatment of a variety of cancers, particularly lung, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pancreatic and prostate cancer.
Henry Lowe, Ph.D., D.Sc., F.R.S.H., an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) is the Founder of ESL. Dr. Lowe collaborated with Dr. Joseph Bryant, DVM, Associate Professor of Pathology and Director, Animal Models Division, at the UM SOM Institute of Human Virology (IHV) in the realization of this discovery.
ESL’s leadership also consists of Ngeh J. Toyang, Ph.D., whose background is in the study of the medicinal potential of plant isolates. He is a vital part of Dr. Lowe’s research team and is serving as ESL’s CEO. Dr. Toyang holds a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy from the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.
The discoveries and projects are part of a wider effort to examine Jamaica’s medicinal plants for potential therapeutic purposes. To date, the Jamaican plant Tillandsia recurvata (more commonly known as “Ball Moss”) has shown promise as a potential treatment for cancers and as a neuroprotective agent, for diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Lowe established ESL, which is based in Baltimore, to conduct further research and development on bioactive plant compounds and to develop new pharmaceutical and “nutraceutical” products. ESL will work in collaboration with the Bio-Tech R&D Institute in Jamaica, which Dr. Lowe also founded and of which he is the Executive Chairman.
Philip J. Robilotto, D.O., M.B.A., Chief Commercialization Officer with UM Ventures, said, “This unique discovery exemplifies some of the broadly innovative research currently ongoing at UMB. This agreement will allow ESL to move forward with developing a treatment that could positively impact the lives of the many individuals living with cancer.”
Dr. Lowe is internationally recognized for his research in the field of “Ethno-medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Pharmacology and Biochemistry.” A Jamaican-born medicinal chemist, he spent nearly 50 years extensively studying the potential for plant-based compounds to treat a range of chronic diseases. Over the past 10 years, Dr. Lowe, in tandem with the IHV team, has demonstrated significant anti-cancer activities of a number of plant isolates. He has also been granted several U.S. Patents for his discoveries and has published numerous peer-reviewed studies and books. Dr. Lowe attended the University of the West Indies, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Hons.) in Natural Sciences (London University/University College of the West Indies). He then received his Master of Science degree from the University of Sydney and his Ph.D. degree from Manchester University.
“It is often stated that it takes 10 to 12 years to take a drug from basic science to commercialization. My team and I have now completed 10 years of work on this Ball Moss project and we are satisfied that we are well on our way to commercialization. I am particularly pleased to say with confidence that we now have a drug with the potential not only to save lives, but also to create wealth for all involved,” stated Dr. Lowe. “I am grateful for the assistance given to us by the University of Maryland.”
“We are excited about moving our findings forward and developing a novel compound using Ball Moss isolates to combat some major cancers,” said Dr. Toyang. “This agreement provides us the momentum to move forward in the development of our compound.”
About Educational and Scientific (ESL), LLC
Educational and Scientific, LLC (ESL) is a commercial venture established by Dr. Henry Lowe to conduct further research and development of medicinal plant isolates for the development of new pharmaceutical and “nutraceutical” products. ESL is headquartered in Baltimore.
About UM Ventures
UM Ventures is an initiative to channel the tremendous technical resources and research expertise of the University of Maryland, engaging partners in industry and social ventures to expand real world impact. By encouraging students and faculty, and by providing expert advice and business services, more discoveries will reach the market. By engaging directly with external partners, UM Ventures brings new investment, expanded markets and more start-up ventures. Visit http://umventures.org/ to learn more.
Media contact: Jamie Lacey-Moreira firstname.lastname@example.org 410-299-3310
Source:University of Maryland, Baltimore