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Emerging Markets Report: Botox, Anthrax, and the Healing Power of Poison

An Emerging Markets News Commentary

ORLANDO, Oct. 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- When Botox hit the annals of pop culture as a beauty product, a healer, and more it was shocking to many. How could a product derived from the notorious toxin Clostridium botulinum, the stuff that causes botulism, serve the greater good?  Until these very recent medical breakthroughs botulism was mostly associated with deathly paralysis.

But as the toxin was harnessed to fix headaches, wrinkles, excessive sweating… even urinary incontinence… Botox has a far more appealing reputation than its lethal origins. It’s a good guy.

Today it appears that deadly Anthrax may be breaking good as Botox has, intent on joining the ranks of the helpful and the healers while eschewing its well-earned infamy for contributing to the actual Fall of Rome and more recently, a domestic bio-terrorism event that had the nation on edge. Indeed, U.S. based Spherix Inc. (SPEX) believes that Anthrax could very well be used to effectively fight ovarian cancer.

Spherix, which partners with leading U.S. based universities to develop and eventually monetize groundbreaking drug discoveries, has executed an exclusive option agreement with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) related to its anticancer drug designated PrAg-PAS. This novel protein drug is designed by re-engineering the Anthrax toxin delivery mechanism so that any one of a number of anticancer drug payloads may be specifically transported into ovarian cancer cells. 

Spherix’s CEO Anthony Hayes describes the discovery:  “In simple terms, they have modified the Anthrax toxin so that it kills cancer cells, but not other cells.  By using an elegant protein engineering strategy, the inventors have hijacked the complex anthrax toxin delivery mechanism to create a highly efficient drug delivery system specific to ovarian cancer cells.  In mouse models tested, the data show that tumor growth halted following treatment with PrAg-PAS and did not increase compared to the control mice.”

It is a staggering prospect to consider, this Anthrax-as-a-Good-Guy possibility. And of course the drug is still in relatively early stages of development, the successful mouse tests notwithstanding.

But it is also the type of intriguing, compelling story that will be followed by many who wish to see if the notorious Anthrax can be harnessed to fight a far worse villain in ovarian cancer. If it does, Spherix certainly holds an exclusive option agreement that it has added to its growing portfolio in the Life Sciences.

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