Baylor Health Care System, Dallas, has started its own biotechnology firm in order get a cancer therapy onto the market more quickly. ODC Therapy, a wholly owned private company created in June, is charged with developing, producing and distributing cancer vaccines. Michael Ramsay, an anesthesiologist and president of Baylor Research Institute, said Baylor decided to take this route after seeing other therapies it had developed and licensed lie dormant with firms that had licensed them. Creating the company was "the only way to get this (cancer therapy) to the patient," he said. The therapy, which has passed some phase I trials, according to Ramsay, involves stimulating the immune system to destroy tumor cells with antigen-loaded dendritic cells and is designed for patients on whom conventional methods did not work.
ODC was funded with $4 million from Baylor but will have to get additional outside financing, Ramsay said, likely private equity financing or a public offering. Ramsay said Baylor's initial stake is now valued at about $17 million, but it will take about $100 million -- and about three or four years -- to get the vaccines to market. -- by Paul Barr