diaDexus, Inc. and Biotechnology Value Fund L.P. (BVF) have jointly announced the formation of a spin-out company, CFD Therapeutics, Inc., to develop cancer therapeutics stemming from discoveries made previously by diaDexus.
CFD will specifically focus on the development of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies directed against proprietary ovarian, pancreatic, breast, colon, prostate and lung cancer targets licensed from diaDexus.
BVF has made an initial investment in CFD, through which it has assumed majority ownership in the company.
diaDexus provided an exclusive license to CFD for its entire portfolio of therapeutic targets and associated monoclonal antibodies.
CFD's programs will leverage over eight years and $100 million of target discovery and antibody development efforts carried out at diaDexus.
Through its founding partnership with Incyte Genomics in 1997 and its own discovery program, diaDexus identified genes that are highly over-expressed in cancerous relative to normal tissue.
Starting from thousands of candidate genes, diaDexus identified approximately 20 promising candidates to move forward into pre-clinical development as therapeutic antibody targets.
"We have selected the best targets and monoclonal antibodies from our discovery efforts through great rigor and careful biology," said Jackie Papkoff, Chief Scientific Officer for CFD Therapeutics and formerly Executive Vice President of Discovery and Therapeutics at diaDexus.
"Several of our advanced targets appear to have significantly greater cancer and tissue specificity than well-known therapeutic targets such as HER-2 and EGF-R, the target antigens for Herceptin® and Erbitux®."
"We believe this higher specificity of target expression could enable the generation of therapeutic antibodies with enhanced clinical safety and efficacy. We are hopeful our products might one day provide significant benefit to cancer patients worldwide."
CFD will utilize its initial funding to advance antibodies directed against the two most promising of its current pipeline of approximately 20 candidate targets through preclinical development.
CFD owns full rights to the two programs entering preclinical development. Other select pipeline candidates will be co-developed under a partnership agreement with Medarex, Inc.
diaDexus will provide start-up infrastructure including labs, equipment and other key services including extensive expertise in protein and monoclonal antibody pre-clinical activities.
A core team of scientists from diaDexus, with key competencies in pre-clinical development and validation of targets and therapeutic antibodies, has joined CFD.
Patrick Plewman, CEO of diaDexus, stated, "We believe the spin-out of CFD from diaDexus is a win-win arrangement."
"diaDexus will now focus its efforts exclusively on diagnostics, particularly the commercialization of the PLAC® blood test for measuring the risk of coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke, while CFD will be in a position to unlock the significant value of our therapeutic assets. Through our retained interest, diaDexus will share in CFD's success."