PolyTherics and Alpha Cancer Technologies Collaborate to Produce Novel Drug Conjugates to Target Tumours

LONDON and TORONTO, May 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

ThioBridge™ linker to attach cytotoxic payloads to alpha fetoprotein
PolyTherics Limited ("PolyTherics"), an Abzena company that provides technologies and services to enable the development of better biopharmaceuticals, today announced a collaboration with Alpha Cancer Technologies Inc. ("ACT"), a Canadian company with a targeted drug delivery platform based on alpha fetoprotein ("AFP"). PolyTherics will produce a range of AFP drug conjugates for ACT to test using its proprietary ThioBridge™ technology.
ACT has developed a novel drug delivery system based on AFP, a shuttle protein that binds to AFP receptors, which are present in large amounts on the majority of cancer cells but only rarely on healthy cells.  AFP has been studied extensively and has been shown to be safe in Phase I and II clinical studies involving over 400 patients.  ACT's lead product (ACT-901), which is in preclinical development, will use AFP initially to deliver paclitaxel to ovarian tumours.
PolyTherics has developed ThioBridge™ for site-specific conjugation of cytotoxic payloads to disulfide bonds in proteins and antibodies to provide more stable and less heterogeneous drug conjugates. Under the collaboration PolyTherics will conjugate AFP to a derivative of a known cytotoxic drug using ThioBridge™ to produce a range of different drug conjugates for testing. 
John Burt, CEO of Abzena, commented: "We are excited to be working with ACT and to be a part of the renaissance in interest in AFP as a delivery platform and look forward to helping produce better drug conjugates to treat cancer."
Igor Sherman, CEO of ACT, said: "We are looking forward to our collaboration with PolyTherics which will allow us to expand our product pipeline using ThioBridge™ technology.  This technology represents an exceptional strategic fit for ACT in our efforts to bring forward targeted cancer treatments which have the potential to significantly improve cancer care for many patients."
About PolyTherics 
PolyTherics is a wholly owned subsidiary of Abzena Limited, a group focused on providing proprietary technologies and value-added services to enable the development of better biopharmaceuticals.
PolyTherics specializes in proprietary site-specific conjugation technologies for antibody drug conjugate development (ThioBridge™) and solutions for optimization of the therapeutic properties of biopharmaceuticals (TheraPEG™, CyPEG™, HiPEG™ and PolyPEG™).
About Abzena
Abzena is the new name for the PolyTherics group, and is focused on providing proprietary technologies and value-added services to enable the development of better biopharmaceuticals.
Abzena comprises two wholly owned subsidiary businesses - PolyTherics and Antitope - which have established a broad suite of complementary technologies that are designed to improve the chances of successful development of antibodies and proteins with enhanced therapeutic benefits.
Antitope is an industry leader in immunogenicity assessment, protein engineering for creating humanized antibodies and deimmunised therapeutic proteins, and cell line development for manufacture.
The group has built a global customer base over the past decade, including the top 10 pharma, large and small biotech, and academic groups.
Abzena is a privately owned UK company backed by institutional investors including Imperial Innovations (AIM: IVO), Invesco Perpetual, Mercia Fund Management, Advantage Enterprise & Innovation Fund (managed by Catapult Venture Partners), Capital Fund (managed by YFM), ProVen Growth & Income VCT and Oxford Technology VCTs.
About Alpha Cancer Technologies 
ACT is a drug delivery company with an innovative targeted chemotherapy delivery platform for the treatment of cancer. ACT uses recombinant human alpha-fetoprotein to selectively target cancer cells by delivering toxic chemotherapeutic agents exclusively to these cells.  This approach offers the benefits of much lower toxicity and greater efficacy compared to conventional chemotherapy.
ACT is a private Canadian company based in Toronto, Ontario.
For more information, please contact: 


    For PolyTherics
    John Burt, CEO, Abzena
    Tel: +44-(0)20-7691-3580
    Email: [email protected]

    Mark Swallow, Sita Shah or Chris Gardner
    Citigate Dewe Rogerson
    Tel: +44-(0)20-7638-9571
    Email: [email protected]

    For Alpha Cancer Technologies
    Richard Potts
    Tel: +1-(416)-464-2678
    Email: [email protected]

SOURCE PolyTherics