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MyCure, a Kiriat Shemona-based start-up, is on its way to developing an anti-cancer drug that will battle a form of leukemia known as CML.
The drug is the result of research initiated by Dr. Jamal Mahajna of the Upper Galilee Knowledge Center (Migal Ltd.), based on work on medicinal mushrooms conducted by Prof. Solomon Wasser [pictured] of the University of Haifa.
The anti-cancer agent resulting from this particular research breakthrough is protected by a patent filed in the United States and held jointly by Carmel-Haifa University Economic Corp. and Migal.
The two researchers located two mushrooms that contain active material with a potential to combat CML, chronic myeloid leukemia, with more endurance than the present drug on the market, Gleevec, developed by Novartis. The disease is relatively rare but still accounts for some 20% of adults diagnosed with leukemia.
MyCure was set up within the Meytav technological incubator, considered one of Israel's leading incubators in the field of the life sciences. The company is now defining the chemical structure of the two mushroom's active molecules. At a later stage, it will work on improving their other biological qualities.
MyCure has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with the Migal and Carmel for use of the patent to develop and market drugs that will overcome CML. Prof. Wasser, a senior investigator at the University of Haifa's Institute of Evolution, is one of the world's leading experts in studying the medicinal and other traits of the lowly mushroom. He holds other patents resulting from his work with fungi, and heads the Institute of Evolution's Biodiversity and Evolution of Cryptogamic Plants and Fungi Center.