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MAX BioPharma: Building a New Generation of Therapeutic Agents

MAX BioPharma
MAX BioPharma

At times, the answer to human ailments lies within the human body. The need is to investigate how we can utilize them best. Since the start of civilization, diseases and ailments have marred the society and finding a cure to them has been the key to survival.

As the form of disease changes, so does the therapy related to it. Many diseases which were thought to be incurable in the earlier centuries, can now be cured, thanks to the intensive research that goes into developing the drugs and therapies. However, even today, on the verge of a new decade, medical science is searching for a cure to many fatal human diseases.

Looking for a cure to some of these diseases is MAX BioPharma, a privately-held preclinical stage California-based biopharmaceutical company, developing novel small molecule lipids as drug candidates for intervention in debilitating and fatal human diseases.

MAX BioPharma aims to capitalize on key discoveries made several years ago while analysing a previously understudied group of lipid molecules and their role in human health and disease. Leveraging combined expertise in the fields of cellular biology, lipid biochemistry and drug discovery, the Company works to build a new generation of therapeutic agents that can address unmet medical needs with human disorders, such as osteoporosis, lung and pancreatic cancer, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and idiopathic lung fibrosis (IPF).

New Age Therapeutics

MAX BioPharma is pioneering the discovery and development of small molecule oxysterol as novel drug candidates for targeting a number of human diseases including but not limited to cancer, osteoporosis, fatty liver, and lung fibrosis. The company’s compounds are safer, more effective, and less costly than the existing therapies. The company is translating this technology into the next generation of therapeutic agents for stimulation of bone formation, locally and systemically, in indications such as spinal fusion, non-union fractures, and osteoporosis.

MAX BioPharma is also pursuing the development of small molecule oxysterols that function as anti-tumorigenic Hedgehog and TGFbeta pathway antagonists which will be more effective than currently known antagonists in treating a variety of cancers, including lung and pancreatic cancer, and hematologic malignancies.

Additionally, in collaboration with academic investigators, MAX BioPharma is evaluating its oxysterol lead compounds for targeting non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH, fatty liver) given the importance of Hedgehog and TGFbeta signalling in the progression of this disease.

The company’s emphasis on oxysterols is not a random choice, but stems from the physiological relevance of cholesterol in human health and disease. In its research, MAX BioPharma often starts with naturally occurring oxysterols with a certain biological profile (e.g., anti-cancer or bone-forming properties) and then examines structural changes to obtain new sterol derivatives of higher potency and with drug-like properties that can be patented and developed into therapeutic agents.

Currently, the company has active research programs in the stimulation of localized bone formation (spine fusion, bone repair), osteoporosis (using a bone-targeted bone anabolic agent), cancer (pancreatic and lung) and fibrotic diseases (NASH and pulmonary fibrosis). These are done often by way of research collaborations with key opinion leaders in academia and industry, and support from the National Institute of Health.

A Visionary Leader

Dr. Farhad Parhami, MAX BioPharma’s Founder, President and CEO, is a molecular and cellular pathologist with a PhD from UCLA School of Medicine and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. Dr. Parhami has made a number of seminal discoveries in the fields of vascular disease, bone biology, cancer and stem cell biology and more.

After 22 years as an academic scientist at UCLA, he founded MAX BioPharma and left his academic position to dedicate his entire time to the development of novel therapies based on Oxysterol Therapeutics®. Dr. Parhami is the inventor in more than 10 patents and has guided MAX BioPharma’s efforts toward success, including securing more than $5M in non-dilutive funding for the company.

The Limitations

MAX BioPharma, in its endeavor to ease mankind’s pain, has been through lean patches too. The biggest limitation for the company is finding investors and strategic partners that can help it financially in developing its technology, and by providing their expertise in drug development. The company continues to rely on non-dilutive grant funds from the National Institute of Health and other organizations to develop its technology. But given its immense success so far, it needs much greater funds infused into the company in order to fully develop its technology toward providing new treatments for human diseases.

Garnering Recognition

Over the years MAX BioPharma has received several accolades which have helped it get to its current stage of development. With the help of 5 NIH SBIR awards, (2 Phase I grants, 2 Phase II grants, 1 Phase IIB grant) and one Tran-1 award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), the company has developed its osteoporosis program to about 14 months from an IND-filing. Additionally, it has been highlighted as one of the top companies in the Hedgehog inhibition market by TechNavio.

For a Healthier Future

MAX BioPharma, going forward, will continue to make significant progress in developing small molecule oxysterols for treatment of cancer, osteoporosis, and pathologic fibrosis in lung and liver. “We hope to form strategic partnerships with investors and biopharmaceutical companies to fully develop our technology and bring novel drugs to market for the treatment of human diseases,” expresses Dr. Parhami.



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