You are currently viewing EMRIS Pharma Developing Novel Skin Toxicities Treatment Affecting Cancer Patients

Hadasit and Yissum have spun off EMRIS Pharma in collaboration with NGT Healthcare2 VC and with the support of the Israel Innovation Authority.

EMRIS Pharma is developing a topical skin ointment (SDT 011) to prevent these skin toxicities due to  EGFR inhibitors side effects, resulting from cancer treatments. Many of the molecularly targeted agents used in current cancer treatments, particularly those interfering with signal transduction such as Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor inhibitors ( EGFRi) are associated with severe skin toxicities. EMRIS Pharma is pioneering novel small molecule-based topical compounds that block EGFRi monoclonal antibodies topically, By proactively blocking this interaction,EMRIS ’s innovative approach effectively reduces skin toxicity, allowing cancer patients to maintain their daily lives without compromising their vital anti-cancer treatments. Thus EMRIS can bring relief, improve quality of life, and ensure better compliance with treatment for cancer

“In the current era of personalized medicine and targeted therapies, there is a notable occurrence of specific ‘on target’ toxicities,” explained Dr. Lyora Aharonov, Co-Founder and CEO of EMRIS Pharma. “These toxicities result in damage to tissues that express the molecular target extensively.”


EMRIS Pharma’s first product, SDT-011, is the outcome of over ten years of research collaboration between its founders, Dr. Sharon Merims, a senior dermatologist, and head of the dermato-oncology clinic at the Hadassah Medical Center, and Professor Ofra Benny from the Institute for Drug Research at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. This product aims to prevent and treat skin toxicities induced by EGFR inhibitors by topically blocking drug-receptor interaction

“Current strategies for treating skin toxicities caused by EGFR inhibitors are of limited benefit and there is an urgent need for novel and potent treatment for these skin toxicities,” said Dr. Sharon Merims, EMRIS Pharma‘s Chief Scientific Officer. ” Our novel proactive strategy for the management of EGFR therapy-mediated skin rash may help to maximize the benefit for oncology patients by minimizing the negative effects on quality of life, maintaining an optimal monoclonal antibody dose and thus leading to a better response to the anti-cancer treatment”.

A vast majority of patients (~90%) undergoing EGFRi monoclonal antibody treatments, like Cetuximab and Panitumumab, suffer from severe skin toxicities that impair their well-being and often require dose reductions or interruptions in their anti-cancer drug protocols. Current treatment regimens, such as moisturizers, sunscreens, steroids, and antibiotics, provide limited relief, with the most effective treatment often being dose reduction or even drug discontinuation.

According to Professor Aron Popovtzer, head of the Sharett Institute of Oncology at Hadassah Medical Center , numerous patients undergoing EGFR inhibitor treatments experience significant distress due to the skin toxicity induced by these agents. “Implementing a potent remedy to alleviate these symptoms could potentially enable our patients to persist with their treatments, offering a substantial improvement in their overall quality of life.”


“The lead compound developed by EMRIS Pharma has been initially successful in blocking EGFRi monoclonal antibodies from binding to EGFR both in vitro and ex vivo,” said Professor Ofra Benny, Chief Technology Officer, EMRIS Pharma. “The delivery system for this treatment is also unique in that it is a slow-release system that penetrates the deep layers of the epidermis where EGFR is most dense.”

EMRIS Pharma, founded by NGT Healthcare2 VC, licensed the technology from Hadasit, the Technology Transfer Company of Hadassah Medical Organization, and Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.

“As a venture capital firm focused on healthcare innovation, we are excited to partner with  EMRIS Pharma on their groundbreaking cancer treatment product. Their novel approach to managing skin toxicities caused by EGFR inhibitors has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for cancer patients and increase treatment compliance. We believe that EMRIS Pharma‘s innovative research and development will lead to a brighter future for cancer patients, and we look forward to supporting their mission.” said Zohar Gendler, Managing Partner & CEO, NGT Healthcare2.

About the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem

The Hadassah Medical Center was established in 1912 and is a world-class facility. For more than a century, Hadassah Medical Center has set the standard of excellence for medical care and research in Israel. Every year, Hadassah provides nearly one million people with hospital services, and in keeping with worldwide trends, the Hadassah University Medical Center in Israel is moving toward daycare and day hospitalization to reduce costs and risk of infection. Our doctors and scientists are on the frontlines, uniquely positioned to pinpoint ever-evolving medical needs. Their experience and ingenuity have yielded new ideas with huge potential in all areas of medicine, including therapeutics, diagnostic medical devices, and digital health. For more information about Hadassah Medical Center, please visit-

About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem is Israel’s leading academic and research institution. Serving 24,000 students from 80 countries, it produces a third of Israel’s civilian research and is ranked 12th worldwide in biotechnology patent filings and commercial development. Faculty and alumni of the Hebrew University have won eight Nobel Prizes and a Fields Medal. For more information about the Hebrew University, please visit

About Hadasit Medical Research Services and Development

Hadasit is the technology transfer company and innovation engine of Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem. Hadasit transforms the cutting-edge research coming out of Hadassah into marketable medical technologies, that can change the world and better humanity. With more than 260 active patent families, which have yielded numerous medical and commercial breakthroughs, Hadasit established companies, licenses technologies, and collaborates with leading international companies and research facilities around the world. To date, Hadasit has spun off over 65 companies, including the publicly traded Hadasit Bio-Holdings (TASE: HDST) in which Hadasit is a major shareholder.

About Yissum

Yissum is the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Founded in 1964, it serves as a bridge between cutting-edge academic research and a global community of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry. Yissum‘s mission is to benefit society by converting extraordinary innovations and transformational technologies into commercial solutions that address our most urgent global challenges. Yissum has registered over 11,000 patents globally; licensed over 1,140 technologies and has spun out more than 200 companies. Yissum‘s business partners span the globe and include companies such as Boston Scientific, ICL, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, and many more.

About EMRIS Pharma

EMRIS Pharma, which was recently spun out of Hadassah Medical Center and the Hebrew University, and is developing a novel small molecule topically administrated for the prevention of skin toxicities induced by EGFR inhibitors (EGFRi). This innovative therapy intends to improve cancer patients’ quality of life and compliance with cancer therapy. EMRIS Pharma’s topical ointment (SDT 011) is targeting a huge market with global unmet needs. The market is also expected to substantially grow due to new combinations of cancer treatments with EGFRi and a potential product approval of new EGFRi bi-specific antibodies.

EMRIS Pharma was founded by an entirely female executive team composed of Lyora Aharonov, CEO, Prof Ofra Benny as Chief Technical Officer, Sharon Merims, Chief Scientific Officer. EMRIS Pharma plans to begin human trials within three years. The recent investment round of $422,000 was led by the Israel Innovation Authority and NGT Healthcare II.

Additional information about EMRIS Pharma: info AT  or on its site EMRIS Pharma

Source: PR Newswire June 8, 2023


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