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Cayman Chemical Company

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MD Anderson, Cayman Chemical, and Fannin Innovation Studio Form Therapeutics Company

Ann Arbor, MI, September 17, 2015 --( The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Cayman Chemical and Fannin Innovation Studio have formed ACF Pharmaceuticals, LLC. The pre-clinical therapeutics company is dedicated to discovering and developing novel small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of a variety of inflammation-induced cancers, including melanoma and colon and pancreatic cancer.

Chronic inflammation has long been associated with cancer development and the cyclooxygenase pathway (COX) involved in promoting it. The COX enzymes are popular therapeutic targets; however, COX inhibitors have a variety of unwanted side effects that limit their use. ACF is working to develop two different approaches that will target this inflammatory pathway to block cancer progression and enhance the anti-tumor immune response.

Under the terms of a parallel joint development agreement, Cayman’s drug discovery program will focus on developing novel agents including the design, optimization, synthesis and initial screening for therapeutic applications in cancer, fibrosis, inflammation and pain. MD Anderson will use existing and newly developed models to evaluate candidate molecules, working with Cayman and Fannin to identify and advance the lead development. Fannin, a Houston-based, early-stage life science commercialization firm, is providing early-stage funding and will manage ACF, providing intellectual property strategy, capitalization and grant strategy, and business development.

“This creative venture represents yet another way we can provide a pathway to the clinic for technology developed by our talented researchers and clinicians,” said Ferran Prat, Ph.D., J.D., vice president for strategic industry ventures at MD Anderson. “Combining MD Anderson research with this commercially focused partnership takes us a step closer to our goal of ending cancer.”

“Cayman has a long history of success supporting the development of therapeutics such as Celecoxib via our research biochemicals. With ACF, we will for the first time join as full partners with a talented team of MD Anderson biologists and physicians to apply our deep understanding of the COX enzymes to the treatment and prevention of cancer,” said Kirk Maxey, M.D., president and CEO at Cayman Chemical.

“More targeted ways to modulate the COX pathway promise a substantial benefit to patients and represents a major market opportunity,” said Atul Varadhachary, M.D., Ph.D., managing partner at Fannin. “This partnership reflects both increasing recognition of both the commercial value of innovation being created in Houston and the need for creative ways to advance early stage innovation.”

About Cayman Chemical Company
Cayman Chemical Company is recognized worldwide as a provider of high-quality, affordable reagents used for biomedical research. Cayman scientists are experts in the synthesis of bioactive lipids, small molecule inhibitors and drug-like heterocyclic molecules. Drawing from three decades of designing and developing research tools, Cayman has grown into a drug discovery company with ongoing programs in osteogenesis, allergy, asthma, and muscular dystrophy. Privately owned, backed by more than 300 employees and occupying more than 240,000 square feet of manufacturing and R&D space, Cayman is uniquely positioned to help advance human and veterinary health.

About Fannin Innovation Studio
Houston-based Fannin Innovation Studio is an early-stage life sciences development group focused exclusively on commercializing medical technologies. Fannin partners with life science innovators to co-found startup companies by providing a pooled management team, central office space and seed funding. To further bridge the commercialization gap, Fannin’s apprenticeship program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with hands-on development experience with its portfolio companies. For more information, visit or email

About MD Anderson
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution’s sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospital’s” survey. It has ranked as one of the nation’s top two hospitals since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first for 11 of the past 14 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).
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Cayman Chemical Company
Stephen Barrett

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