Getting cancer treatments straight to where they are needed is a holy grail for biotechs, and a new research program from Algeta is harnessing the power of one of Immunomedics' ($IMMU) antibodies to try to achieve this goal.
Under the terms of the collaboration between the two companies, Algeta will link up its thorium-227 radionuclide payload with Immunomedics' humanized anti-CD22 antibody, epratuzumab, using its Targeted Thorium Conjugate (TTC) technology. The plan behind the program is that the antibody will home in on the B cells, immune cells that express CD22 on their surface, and deliver the cytotoxic radionuclide payload locally, reducing systemic side effects. B cell cancers include leukemias and lymphomas.
Algeta will cover the costs for preclinical and Phase I development, and then after that the two companies will negotiate a license for any products coming out of the research. Immunomedics is retaining the rights to the unconjugated and nonalpha-emitter-conjugated antibody, and while the companies haven't released any financial details, Immunomedics will get upfront and milestone payments.
Epratuzumab has been studied as a lymphoma and leukemia treatment, and is licensed to UCB for autoimmune disease. Algeta is developing a range of TTC-based drugs, and plans to get a candidate into clinical trials in 2014.
- read the press release from Algeta
- see the press release from Immunomedics (pdf)