"Finding resources in an academic laboratory to move a first-in-class drug through clinical trials, is difficult," Hammock said. "It costs $700 million to $1.2 billion to get a treatment to the market."
"Publicly funded research," the professor said, "results in many new possible pharmaceutical targets that could be exploited by either small molecule drugs or biotechnology. However, society faces a serious problem in that few of these leads are followed and there is a widely held view that universities cannot validate a target, much less optimize a pharmaceutical."
So in 2002, Hammock founded the biotech company, Arte Therapeutics, Inc., naming the company a mountaineering term that means "sharp, steep ridge." Specifically, the company is named for the artes of the Bear Creek Spire of the Sierra Nevada that he, his sons and occasionally other UC Davis faculty and students climb.
"The artes that climbers follow to peaks are often inspiring as well as challenging," Hammock said. "I founded the company because I failed to transfer technology to the public from the University of California by other means in the past," Hammock said. "And I received nothing more than a passing interest from pharmaceutical companies at that time, but now they are very interested."
In 2003, he and his son, also named Bruce, incorporated the company to move the materials into clinical trials. "To get funding we had to make a case for a new drug when current therapy was thought to be adequate," the professor said. "There are few good drugs for end organ failure and vascular inflammation." Vascular inflammation is involved in diabetes and obesity side effects.
"The collaborative and interdisciplinary environment at UC Davis permitted us, with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, to optimize the potency and drug
|Contact: Kathy Keatley Garvey|
University of California - Davis