Viewpoint News & Awards

Viewpoint Awarded $150,000 SBIR by NIH

Coralville, IA – Viewpoint has been awarded a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant by the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute to develop its new image guided therapy for metastatic melanoma.  “This is a great step forward for Viewpoint and forms the cornerstone of the support we need to complete technical milestones toward our early stage clinical trials,” says Chief Medical Officer and Viewpoint Co-Founder Frances Johnson MD. “We have worked to create the infrastructure in the community to propel us forward. While we recognize our challenges, our recent successes seem to be indicating that our approach is sound.”

The incidence of melanoma has been increasing for the last 30 years and is one of the fastest growing cancer incidences in the United States today. Alarmingly, melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults 25-29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old. While disease detected early can be cured by surgical removal of the lesion on the skin, the prognosis for patients in which the disease has spread is poor. Recent discoveries of genetic mutations in melanoma have led to the introduction of new therapies, but resistance develops quickly and new approaches are critically needed. Viewpoint’s image-guided radionuclide based therapies have been demonstrated in preclinical studies to provide selectively kill cancer cells and shrink tumors in mice (in some cases to complete disappearance over the life of the study), while side effects have been mild. The approach is based on molecular targeting of specific cell-surface proteins that are present on melanoma cells, but are virtually absent in other organs and tissues in the body.  In this way, Viewpoint’s technology allows precise delivery of radiation to cancer cells, while sparing healthy organs and tissues. “Our approach looks highly promising and our recent success in securing NCI support adds a measure of validation to the underpinnings of the technology,” says Chief Science Officer and Co-Founder Michael Schultz PhD. “Recent reviews of our business model by the Iowa Economic Development Authority Review Panel and ultimate award of Demonstration Funds by the Iowa Technology and Commercialization Committee adds confidence that our projections for business development are also sound.  We are pleased with the progress.”