Morphotek and AREVA Med to collaborate on Lead-212 Targeted Alpha Therapies
March 31, 2016
Exton, PA, US, and Courbevoie, France
Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., and AREVA Med, the AREVA Group medical subsidiary developing innovative therapies to fight cancer, announced today that they have entered into a collaborative project to assess the potential of a novel alpha radio-immunotherapy treatment in the fight against cancer.
Under the terms of the agreement, Morphotek and AREVA Med will assess the safety and efficacy profile of ontuxizumab conjugated with lead-212 (212Pb) in preclinical studies. Ontuxizumab is a Morphotek investigational humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) that specifically targets the endosialin/tumor endothelial marker 1 (TEM-1) antigen, whose expression is restricted to tumor associated pericytes, tumor stromal cells and a subset of malignant cells. In case of successful results, both companies agreed to further pursue drug development.
“Opportunities to expand the use of our lead antibodies in new generation formats, including radiopharmaceuticals, are a key corporate strategy as we explore an array of therapeutic modalities for diseases expressing our top priority pathways, such as endosialin/TEM-1”, commented Nicholas Nicolaides, Morphotek’s President & CEO. “We are particularly excited to collaborate with AREVA Med, who is specializing in alpha-based radiopharmaceuticals.”
Studies will be performed at AREVA Med’s new U.S. facility dedicated to the production of 212Pb. This rare metal is used in Targeted Alpha Therapy (TAT), an innovative oncology approach designed to target and kill cancer cells while limiting damage to nearby healthy cells. Ontuxizumab will be conjugated using a novel site-specific bioconjugation method developed by Macrocyclics, AREVA Med’s subsidiary, and radiolabeled with 212Pb. The final compound is expected to target the supporting microenvironment of solid tumors, and more specifically tumor cell vasculature.
Patrick Bourdet, AREVA Med’s President CEO added: “We are delighted for this new collaboration with Morphotek. The combination of their expertise using highly specific vectors targeting cancer vasculature with AREVA Med’s industrial and scientific capacity could result in several powerful and innovative treatments to combat the disease.”