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Algeta Initiates New Oncology Research Program to Conjugate Thorium-227 to Epratuzumab

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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CD22 is a well-validated target for hematological cancers.

Algeta ASA has initiated a new research program to evaluate a novel Targeted Thorium Conjugate (TTC) that combines Algeta’s proprietary thorium-227 alpha-pharmaceutical payload with an anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody (epratuzumab) developed by Immunomedics, Inc..

Epratuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) that binds to the CD22 glycoprotein on the surface of B cells. Epratuzumab has been evaluated for the treatment of a variety of hematological cancers and for autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Under the terms of this agreement, Immunomedics will provide clinical-grade antibody to Algeta, which has rights to evaluate the potential of a TTC, linking thorium-227 to epratuzumab, for the treatment of cancer.

Algeta will fund all preclinical and clinical development costs up to the end of phase I testing. Upon successful completion of phase I testing, the parties shall negotiate terms for a license at Algeta’s request according to certain parameters now agreed between the companies.

Payments in the first year from Algeta to Immunomedics include a signature fee, an antibody delivery milestone and payments for cGMP antibody manufacture. No further details of the agreement are disclosed.

Thomas Ramdahl, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Algeta, said: “The broad utility of our proprietary thorium-227 payload and its potential to be more effective at killing cancer cells than other therapeutic payloads gives Algeta a great opportunity to build an extensive pipeline of targeted cancer therapies. This collaboration brings together Algeta, the global leader in alpha-pharmaceuticals and Immunomedics, a pioneer in antibody products and technologies. A TTC based on a well-validated antibody such as epratuzumab is an exciting prospect as we work to achieve our goal of generating a clinical candidate from the TTC platform in 2014”.

Algeta’s TTC strategy is based on gaining access to carefully selected tumor-targeting molecules, via in-licensing, collaboration or via third parties, to which it links thorium-227 thereby creating potential new therapeutics.

Algeta’s disclosed TTC programs include collaborations with Sanofi and Ablynx, programs based on HER2-targeting (breast/ovarian cancer) and PDGFRβ-targeting (anti-angiogenesis) molecules in-licensed from Affibody and two programs targeting hematological cancers, including this newly announced program.

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