Interview with the Co-Founder & CEO of Oncolyze, Dr. Steven Evans

Oncolyze is a New York based preclinical-stage biotech company developing a class of therapeutics to treat cancer in a new and disruptive way. Its main target is acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Most AML patients relapse within 1 year of standard therapy, because it does not destroy cancer stem cells. Oncolyze’s novel approach uses a simple mechanism of action to selectively kill cancer cells and cancer stem cells while sparing normal cells. Their lead drug candidate, OM-301, has two parts; the first attaches to a molecule that is present on the cell surface of more than 80% of cancer types, but not on normal cells. When OM-301 attaches to this target, it uses it as an anchor. The second part then pokes holes in the cell membrane, causing extracellular liquid to rapidly enter, which in turn causes the cancer cell to burst. No known cancer drug uses such a mechanism, although many antibiotics kill bacteria in a similar way.

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