Folate Receptor Targeted Therapeutics for Cancer

Case ID:

Collaborative researchers at WSU and Duquesne University have developed a series of novel folate analogs that show selective toxicity toward tumor cells expressing high levels of the surface protein folate receptor. Typically, normal cells express low levels of folate receptors or such receptors exhibit apical localization and are not exposed to the blood. In additional to the folate receptor selectivity, these compounds are potent inhibitors of glycinamide transformylase (GARTFase), a purine nucleotide biosynthetic enzyme. This is the first description of a compound exhibiting both characteristics of folate receptor and GARTFase targeting. Studies are underway with human tumor xenografts in SCID mice to assess toxicity toward non-tumor tissues.

Commercial Applications

·         Development of antitumor drugs that selectively target tumors

·         Treatments for ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer, and acute myeloid leukemia

Competitive Advantages

·         Our analogs appear to be far more potent than other folate receptor analogs

·         Our analogs show greater uptake activity in FR expressing cells


 Duquesne University is taking the commercialization lead on this technology. Potential licensees will be put in contact with the appropriate individuals at Duquesne. An inter-institutional agreement is in place between WSU and Duquesne University.

Patent Status

Patent Pending.

Tech ID



Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joan Dunbar
Associate Vice President for Technology Commercialization
Wayne State University
(313) 577-5542
Larry Matherly
Aleem Gangjee
Cancer Therapies