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CIT GAP Funds Invests in Acomhal to Advance Therapies for Cancer Treatment

RICHMOND, Va., June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds, the direct investment program of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA) Investment Division, has invested in Roanoke, Va.-based Acomhal. The biotech research company is dedicated to developing therapeutic approaches to prevent tumor recurrence. Acomhal will use this investment to continue enhancing their product as well as expanding their research development.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S., with more than half a million deaths per year, or approximately 1,600 deaths per day. Cancer has historically been hard to treat because tumors are highly heterogeneous and dynamic. Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a rare subset of cancer cells, initiate and sustain tumor growth and are resistant to killing by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. In response to these challenges in treating cancer, Acomhal is developing a first-in-class peptide drug that can kill cancer stem cells.

“For decades, tests and research have tried to beat cancer, but it is still one of the top causes of death in the U.S. today. Acomhal believes that we need to do more to treat and prevent cancer,” said Samy Lamouille, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Acomhal Research. “I have spent over 20 years in the cancer research and drug development field, and I am very proud of the direction Acomhal is headed with our novel therapeutic approach. We thank CIT GAP Funds for their support, whose investment is helping us expand our testing and research efforts.”

If even a small population of cancer stem cells are left behind after treatment, such as chemotherapy, they can rapidly seed the growth of new tumors. Acomhal’s therapeutic approach is a peptide drug that has the potential to provide more effective treatment across a range of cancers that have cancer stem cells, including glioblastoma, breast, colon, lung, and pancreatic cancer. By targeting a specific protein complex that forms in cancer stem cells, this peptide drug is less toxic to normal cells while efficiently preventing the cancer stem cells from proliferating and forming new tumors. To date, the company successfully completed a proof of concept in patient samples and preclinical studies.

“Beating cancer is something that all humans can rally behind, and Acomhal’s biomedical expertise from leaders Samy Lamouille and Robert Gourdie will move us closer to that goal,” said Tom Weithman, Managing Director, CIT GAP Funds. “We are impressed by Acomhal’s research and approach for developing a unique treatment for cancer, with an ability to treat a wide range of cancers.”

About Acomhal
Acomhal Research Inc. is a biotech startup co-founded by Dr. Samy Lamouille and Dr. Robert Gourdie at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at Virginia Tech Carilion. Acomhal Research is developing novel treatments targeting cancer cells that are resistant to therapy in order to prevent tumor recurrence and metastasis. For more information, please visit: https://www.acomhalresearch.com/.

About CIT GAP Funds
CIT GAP Funds makes seed-stage equity investments in Virginia-based technology, cleantech, and life science companies with a high potential for achieving rapid growth and generating a significant economic return for entrepreneurs, co-investors, and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Since its inception in 2005, CIT GAP Funds has deployed $32.4 million in capital across more than 240 portfolio companies, including 17 companies in designated Opportunity Zones. CIT GAP Funds’ investments are overseen by the CIT GAP Funds Investment Advisory Board (IAB). This independent, third-party panel consists of leading regional entrepreneurs, angel, and strategic investors, and venture capital firms such as New Enterprise Associates, Grotech Ventures, Harbert Venture Partners HIG Ventures, Edison Ventures, In-Q-Tel, Intersouth Partners, SJF Ventures, Carilion Health Systems, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, and Alpha Natural Resources. For more information, please visit www.cit.org/gap.

About the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
Investing in Virginia's Growth | CIT concentrates on the early commercialization and seed funding stages of innovation, helping innovators and tech entrepreneurs launch and grow new companies, create high-paying jobs, and accelerate economic growth throughout the entire state of Virginia. Founded in 1985, CIT accelerates next-generation technologies and technology companies through commercialization, capital formation, and market development initiatives throughout Virginia. Programs include | CIT GAP Funds | Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Virginia Founders Fund | Smart Communities | Cybersecurity | Unmanned Systems | SBIR/STTR Support (Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs) | Virginia Research Investment Fund (VRIF) | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit www.cit.org. You can also follow CIT on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.


Dan Warren
LaunchTech Communications
443-977-9638
dan@golaunchtech.com

Sara (Pomakoy) Poole
Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)
sara.poole@cit.org
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