Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Arrowhead Research Corporation Acquires Alvos Therapeutics

Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Last Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Alvos previously licensed a large platform of proprietary human-derived homing peptides from MD Anderson Cancer Center (MDACC) and the method for their discovery.

The technology, designed to specifically bind and enter tumor cells and the vasculature supporting tumors, is thought to be the world's largest library of human-derived targeting agents, representing thousands of unique peptide sequences. These targeting sequences can be linked to Arrowhead's siRNA delivery vehicles as well as to traditional small molecule drugs to preferentially shuttle them into target cells. As such, the new platform is a natural addition to Arrowhead from both an operational and strategic standpoint, and it represents a significant leap forward in targeted therapeutics. MDACC has already achieved clinical proof of concept in targeting metastatic prostate cancer with one of the sequences, and Alvos has multiple other anti-cancer development programs in the pipeline.

Alvos was co-founded in 2010 by the MDACC developers of the technology, Drs. Renata Pasqualini and Wadih Arap, along with Mark Leuchtenberger, CEO of Rib-X Pharma, and Dr. Roy Lobb. Dr. Lobb, who became Alvos' CSO, is an experienced biotech executive and entrepreneur who also founded Avila Therapeutics which was sold earlier this year for a total potential payout of nearly $1bn including $350m upfront. At MDACC, Drs. Pasqualini and Arap used a technique called phage display to generate a vast library of specific peptides that home to both known and novel receptors. The process has generated powerful data in two primary areas: (1) new receptors were discovered that are present primarily or solely on the surface of specific cell types of interest, including cancer cells; and (2) peptides were identified that specifically bind these and previously known receptors and are rapidly internalized by the cells of interest. Importantly, this has been performed in terminal cancer patients, therefore the novel receptors and targeting peptides were identified in human patients with spontaneous disease, including metastases. The acquisition also enables Arrowhead to further expand the library by working with Drs. Pasqualini and Arap to generate additional data with more patient screening at MDACC.

Arrowhead intends to apply the new technology for targeting their proprietary DPC and RONDEL™ siRNA delivery platforms. In addition, the peptides can be linked to small molecule cancer drugs to create a new class of drugs, "Peptide-Drug Conjugates", or PDCs, designed to preferentially accumulate at and inside tumors. This new class has the potential to significantly advance cancer treatment by decreasing side effects, increasing efficacy, and/or decreasing dose of traditional therapies.

"The work that Drs. Pasqualini and Arap have done is truly revolutionary in the sheer number of targeting sequences and new receptors that have been discovered, the exquisite specificity of many of the peptides, and the fact that these were generated in human patients rather than experimental animal models," said Christopher Anzalone, Arrowhead's CEO. "Alvos has identified rapidly internalizing cell surface receptors for over 30 diseased and normal tissue types and peptides that efficiently target them. We do not believe that any other group in the world has generated data in humans that approaches this; therefore it is unique, powerful, and immediately applicable to man. This substantially enhances our existing siRNA programs by providing us with a huge proprietary library of human-derived targeting ligands to couple with our well-established and well-tolerated DPC and RONDEL delivery platforms. In addition, this acquisition allows for the creation of new PDCs against cancer and other indications, thereby expanding our business and capabilities in a cost effective way. The unique potential of this technology offers substantial opportunities to partner with other biotech and pharmaceutical companies."

Arrowhead plans to integrate development of the Alvos technology into its Madison, WI facility. By leveraging existing employees, facilities, and expertise, additional costs assumed as a result of the transaction are expected to be low.

"We were attracted to Arrowhead as an acquirer because of its ability to accelerate development of the platform through its excellent scientific staff and state-of-the-art facilities," commented Alvos' co-founder and CSO Dr. Roy Lobb. "In addition, their work on Adipotide, which was also discovered by Drs. Pasqualini and Arap, creates natural synergies between the obesity and cancer development programs. Direct screening in cancer patients can eliminate some of the uncertainty that has plagued traditional discovery methods. We are delighted that Arrowhead will advance this transformative platform and produce novel differentiated therapies."

In exchange for all the outstanding shares of Alvos Therapeutics, Inc., Arrowhead issued an upfront payment of 315,467 shares in restricted Arrowhead common stock. Alvos stockholders are also eligible to receive additional issuances of stock valued at up to $23.5m at the time of issuance based on the achievement of clinical and regulatory milestones, which begin with demonstrating statistically significant efficacy in clinical trials. Alvos stockholders could receive additional Arrowhead stock as the first three drugs using the new technology achieve certain sales milestones.

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Arrowhead Begins Trial of ARC-AAT
The company has announced that it has dosed the first patient in Part B of a Phase 1 clinical trial of ARC-AAT.
Friday, July 03, 2015
Arrowhead Publishes Data on Advances in Subcutaneous siRNA Delivery
The company believes the new Dynamic Polyconjugates are highly potent and may represent a dramatic improvement in duration of activity over competing technologies.
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Arrowhead Acquires Novartis' RNAi R&D Portfolio
The acquisition includes multiple patent families covering RNAi-trigger design rules and modifications.
Friday, March 06, 2015
Arrowhead Begins Phase 1 Trial of RNAi Therapeutic ARC-520
ARC-520 is the company’s candidate for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B virus infection.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Arrowhead to Present at Upcoming Scientific Conferences
Company will present data on the Dynamic PolyConjugate™ (DPC) siRNA delivery system and the ARC-520 hepatitis B drug candidate.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Arrowhead Prices $36 Million Private Offering
Arrowhead Research Corporation announced that it has priced a private offering with gross proceeds expected to be $36 million. The offering was priced at $1.83 per common share.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Arrowhead Data Demonstrates RNAi Candidate ARC-520 Silences Hepatitis B Virus
Single injection induces multi-log repression of viral RNA, proteins, and viral DNA.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Calando Submits IND for Clinical Trial with Targeted, Nano-Delivered RNAi Therapeutic for Cancer
Arrowhead Research Corporation’s subsidiary Calando Pharmaceuticals plans to initiate a Phase I clinical trial using their lead anti-cancer compound.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Arrowhead Raises Additional Capital from Institutional Shareholders
A portion of the proceeds of the sale was used to increase Arrowhead's ownership in RNAi subsidiary.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Arrowhead Announces the Issuance of Patent Covering a New Approach to Targeted Therapeutics
In addition to covering applications pursued by Insert, the technology is licensed for use in RNAi therapeutics to Calando Pharmaceuticals.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Scientific News
Cancer Genetics: Key to Diagnosis, Therapy
When applied judiciously, cancer genetics directs caregivers to the right drug at the right time, while sparing patients of unnecessary or harmful treatments.
Study Reveals New Role for Hippo Pathway in Suppressing Cancer Immunity
Hippo pathway signaling regulates organ size by moderating cell growth, apoptosis and stem cell renewal, but dysregulation contributes to cancer development.
New Mechanism to Control Human Viral Infections Discovered
Researchers discover long sought after mechanism in human cells that could help treat diseases caused by viruses.
Gene Therapy Maintains Clotting Factor for Hemophilia Patients
Following a single gene therapy dose, the highest levels of an essential blood clotting factor IX were observed in hemophilia B patients.
RNAi Activated in Response to Influenza
Discovery could lead to better ways of combating serious infections, including Ebola and Zika.
Transporting Microscopic Cargo Between Human Cells
Scientists have developed a virus-inspired delivery system for material transport between cells.
Improving Drug Production with Computer Model
A model has been developed that can be used to improve and accelerate the production of biotherapeutics, cancer drugs, and vaccines.
Turning Off Asthma Attacks
Researchers discover a critical cellular “off” switch for the inflammatory immune response that causes asthma attacks.
New Strategy May Drop Cancer’s Guard
Scientists eye ways to deconstruct tumors’ protective wall with current diabetes drug.
Scientists Identify Unique Genomic Features in Testicular Cancer
The findings may shed light on factors in other cancers that influence their sensitivity to chemotherapy.

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos