Sofie scores $1.5M NCI contract

Molecular imaging developer Sofie Biosciences has received a two-year, $1.5 million contract from the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).

The award comes in the form of a phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to support the development of Sofie's proprietary PET imaging probes, known as F-18 fluoroarabinofuranosyl cytosine (FAC).

The probes measure the enzyme deoxycytidine kinase (dCK), which controls the rate of DNA production. Cancer drugs use dCK to convert the drug into a pharmacologically active substance that blocks the high rate of DNA replication needed for malignant cell growth.

According to the company, the commercialization of F-18 FAC is hampered by the production of the probe. While radiochemistry systems are available, they are restricted in terms of chemical reaction conditions and lack reliability and ease of use. The limitations make it impossible to widely produce F-18 FAC, Sofie noted.

The phase II contract will augment the company's NCI phase I SBIR work and allow it to advance to multicenter clinical trials by creating a standardized manufacturing process through Elixys, a three-reactor radiochemistry system for automated production of a variety of probes.

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