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Oncodesign® Announces EUR 10 Million Funding for Oncology Biomarker Program IMAkinib®

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Oncodesign, an oncology-focused biotechnology company, announces that French innovation agency, OSEO, will provide more than 40 percent of the funding for the IMAkinib program, aimed at oncology biomarker development. The total cost of the program will be around EUR 24.7 million over eight years.

Oncodesign heads the project in collaboration with two partners: Guerbet for the development of radiotracers and clinical trials for the biomarkers and Ariana Pharmaceuticals for the analysis of chemical and biological data.

Cancer is still growing fast in terms of incidence, mortality rates and associated costs. WHO estimates that cancer-related deaths will climb 51 percent between 2002 and 2030, with approximately 11.5 million deaths linked to this pathology in 2030 worldwide.

Cancer therapies are still relatively ineffective and are evolving towards personalized treatment and targeted therapies. This explains why it is important to develop specific biomarkers to rationalize treatments and measure their efficacy. This is the aim of IMAkinib.

"The development will take place while we work on lead optimization programs for kinase inhibitors for our pharmaceutical customers," said Philippe Genne, Oncodesign CEO. "This synergy has the added advantage of benefiting our customers while we work on biomarkers adapted to the clinical environment and to the prescription of their therapies. IMAkinib means that Oncodesign will be clearly positioned on the drug discovery and pharmaco-imaging biomarker markets. The program will be a cornerstone of our strategy, which we started a year ago, to become a key player in therapeutic and diagnostic oncology discovery over the next three years."

Radiotracers are diagnostic molecules that can be marked by a radioactive fluoride (F18) to allow the creation of an image using a scanner to follow the reaction of patients undergoing anti-tumor treatments. They also give a precise location of the tumor and any metastases. Radiotracers use imaging technology that is already well known and understood in the hospital environment.

"Using our radiotracers, we can segment patients to evaluate through imaging the most effective and appropriate treatment," said Claire Corot, Research Director at Guerbet. "Guerbet's know-how in imaging products and technology means that we can play an essential role in the clinical development of these products and their marketing."

The OSEO financing comes as part of France's ISI program for strategic industrial innovation (Innovation Stratégique Industrielle). ISI aims are to foster the emergence of European or global champions. Oncodesign as project leader will deploy its vast experience in the pharmacology of anticancer therapies and achievements in other projects such as CReMEC and PharmImage® supported by local and national authorities.