Exton, PA, US, and Courbvoie, 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.”
About AREVA Med
AREVA Med is the AREVA group Medical subsidiary formed in 2009 to develop new therapies to fight cancer. AREVA Med has developed a unique process to extract lead-212 (212Pb), a rare metal used in targeted alpha therapy (TAT), a novel approach which targets and destroys cancer cells, while limiting the impact on nearby healthy cells. AREVA Med collaborates with world-renowned scientific partners, and formed a strategic global alliance with Roche in 2012, to create a new advanced alpha radioimmunotherapy platform. For more information: www.arevamed.com. Follow @AREVAmed on Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/arevamed.
Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., is a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of protein and antibody products through the use of a novel and proprietary gene evolution technology. The technology has been successfully applied to a broad variety of cell lines and organisms to yield genetically diverse offspring that are suitable for pharmaceutical product development in the areas of antibody therapeutics, protein therapeutics, product manufacturing, drug target discovery, and improved output traits for commercial applications. The company is currently focusing its platform on the development and manufacturing of therapeutic antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and infectious disease. For more information, please visit www.morphotek.com.
About Eisai Inc.
At Eisai Inc., human health care is our goal. We give our first thoughts to patients and their families, and helping to increase the benefits health care provides. As the U.S. pharmaceutical subsidiary of Tokyo-based Eisai Co., Ltd., we have a passionate commitment to patient care that is the driving force behind our efforts to help address unmet medical needs. We are a fully integrated pharmaceutical business with discovery, clinical, manufacturing and marketing capabilities. Our key areas of commercial focus include oncology and specialty care (Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy and metabolic disorders). To learn more about Eisai Inc., please visit us at www.eisai.com/US.
Eisai Inc. has affiliates that are part of a global product creation organization that includes R&D facilities in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, as well as a global demand chain organization that includes manufacturing facilities in Maryland and North Carolina. Eisai’s global areas of R&D focus include neuroscience; oncology; metabolic disorders; vascular, inflammatory and immunological reaction; and antibody-based programs.