CerRx is a class C Delaware Corporation that was founded on December 24, 2008. The mission of CerRx is to improve the lives of cancer patients by bringing to the marketplace, with FDA approval, unique therapeutics that target the ceramide pathway.
Ceramides are waxes used by cells to make cell membranes; in excess these waxes are toxic. Making more membrane is essential for cancer cells to grow and the process by which cells make membranes provides a novel target for cancer chemotherapy. The founders of CerRx discovered that the drug called fenretinide, which was synthesized from vitamin A and studied at low doses to prevent cancer, can cause cancer cells, but not normal cells, to overproduce ceramides, killing the cell.
To stimulate overproduction of ceramides in cancer cells requires high concentrations of fenretinide in the blood, which were not obtained in the original capsule formulation and doses initially studied. The CerRx founders also discovered that safingol, a drug that modulates metabolism related to ceramides and which was never fully developed in clinical trials, could increase the killing of cancer cells by fenretinide more than a 1000-fold, and that in laboratory studies, fenretinide + safingol was active in killing many types of cancers in both adults and children.