There were 1.7 million new cases of cancer and 600,000 cancer-related deaths in the U. S. last year. This is despite regular media reports of breakthroughs in treatment, such as monoclonal antibodies and immunotherapies, and many billions of dollars spent on cancer research. New approaches may have long-term promise, but the reality is, most cancers are still treated with drugs that are decades old.

Front line cancer therapies include drugs like doxorubicin and cisplatin, developed in 1949; and methotrexate and 5-FU, developed in 1947. To date, most improvements in cancer therapy have come from simply learning to better use old drugs and radiation therapy, and not from entirely new technologies.

Existing cancer therapies work but usually come with adverse side effects. They can make patients ill, damage organs, such as the heart and kidneys, cause intense pain, and force oncologists to limit dosing or stop using the drugs altogether. In some cases, side effects are permanent – patients never recover – or fatal. In addition, the side effects of cancer therapy are often expensive to treat, increasing the over-all cost of care.

Tosk was founded by biotechnology veterans to address these problems by designing a family of Companion drugs to reduce or eliminate the adverse side effects of existing therapies. Tosk’s drugs are given in tandem with existing, front line treatment to reduce or eliminate their adverse effects and to make certain drugs effective in patients who do not currently benefit. Tosk’s scientists and executives are driven by the vision of providing cancer patients a higher quality of life, to improve outcomes from cancer therapy, and to reduce the overall cost of cancer care.