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Inspyr Leaves San Antonio for California to Be Near Clinical Trials

Xconomy Texas — 

San Antonio — Inspyr Therapeutics has moved out of San Antonio. The news comes a couple of months after the tumor-fighting biotech hired Chris Lowe to serve as president and CEO. Lowe replaced co-founder Craig Dionne, who left the company in March.

The company, which changed its name to Inspyr from GenSpera in August, relocated its headquarters on Oct. 1 to Westlake Village, CA, near the Los Angeles area. Both Lowe and Michael Elliott, who was hired this week to run Inspyr’s clinical trials as vice president of clinical operations, are based in San Francisco, says Tim Tennant, a company spokesman.

Meanwhile, Ronald Shazer, the company’s chief medical officer, is based in San Diego, where the company is currently conducting a clinical trial. The other trial is taking place in Los Angeles, Tennant says. Having the headquarters in California, rather than Texas, allows for regular face-to-face meetings, he says.

Even though Inspyr no longer has employees in Texas, one researcher affiliated with the company, Devalingam Mahalingam, is still in San Antonio, Tennant says. Mahalingam is an oncologist at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and is the lead investigator of research into how well Inspyr’s toxin-based therapy can fight liver cancer, he says.

Inspyr has completed a Phase 2 study in liver cancer, and has been seeking funding from a partner to fund Phase 3 work, Lowe told Xconomy in August.

Inspyr’s therapy is called mipsagargin, and is based in a toxin, thapsigargin, which is found in a weed called Thapsia Garganica. The treatment is being tested in Phase 2 trial in glioblastoma at the Moores Cancer Center of the University of California, San Diego, and being expanded to another clinical site in Los Angeles later this year, Tennant says. It is also being tested in renal cell carcinoma and newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients.

Lowe came to Inspyr as an advisor, initially. He’s a partner at advisory firm FLG Partners, which describes itself as a “CFO-as-a-service” firm, and has previously served in executive roles at life science firms Asthmatx and Peninsula Pharmaceuticals. Lowe and FLG were hired in March (after Dionne left his position) to help Inspyr find direction, the company said at the time.