Algeta awarded grant to develop new tumor-targeted alpha-pharmaceuticals based on Thorium
Oslo - Algeta ASA (OSE: ALGETA), a company focused on the development of novel targeted cancer therapeutics, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a NOK 10.5 million (USD 1.9 million) grant from the Research Council of Norway to develop Targeted Thorium Conjugates (TTCs), novel tumor-targeted alpha-pharmaceuticals based on thorium-227.
Thomas Ramdahl, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, commented: “In our early preclinical feasibility studies, thorium-227 has shown great promise as an effective therapeutic payload. We will use this grant to build on this research to support the development of Targeted Thorium Conjugates (TTCs), which may provide us with a new way to generate improved anticancer agents.”
The grant has been awarded through the BIA program that funds research-based innovation projects independent of the industry from which they come. This broad program supports high-quality R&D projects which could deliver good business and socio-economic benefits. The grant is subject to final negotiations with the Council.
About the Thorium platform
Thorium-227, the basis for Algeta’s second alpha-pharmaceutical technology, is an element (radionuclide) that emits high-energy alpha particles. Such elements are of considerable interest in the treatment of cancer as they are potent at killing tumor cells and have a highly localized effect as a result of the very short range of the alpha particle (2-10 cell diameters).
Several current top-selling cancer drugs are based on ’naked’ monoclonal antibodies, but it is clear that next-generation products will require cancer-killing payloads to maximize the effectiveness of therapy. Thorium-227 is linked to tumor-targeting molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies, to reach its target. By conjugating thorium-227 to a number of such molecules, each with a different tumor target, Algeta is exploring the potential to create a pipeline of Targeted Thorium Conjugates (TTCs), a new-generation of alpha-pharmaceuticals that specifically seek and destroy cancers while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues
Importantly, the direct tumor cell killing action of alpha-pharmaceuticals potentially overcomes drug-resistance mechanisms. In addition, they cause a localized ’bystander effect’, whereby tumor cells adjacent to those bound by the alpha-pharmaceutical may also be destroyed even if they do not bind the drug themselves.
To date, Algeta has signed a research collaboration to develop TTCs with Genzyme and an exclusive licence with Affibody.
Algeta is a company focused on developing novel targeted therapies for patients with cancer based on its alpha-pharmaceutical platform.
Algeta’s lead product Alpharadin (based on radium-223) is a first-in-class, highly targeted alpha-pharmaceutical under clinical evaluation to improve survival in patients with bone metastases from advanced cancer. Its localized action helps preserve the surrounding healthy tissue thereby limiting side-effects.
The development of bone metastases represents a serious development for cancer patients as they are associated with a dramatic decline in patient health and quality of life, ultimately leading to death. Bone metastases represent a major unmet medical need, occurring frequently in certain late-stage cancers, e.g. prostate (in up to 90% patients), breast (up to 60 %) and lung (up to 40%).
Alpharadin is being developed under a development and commercialization agreement with Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals AG, and is in a global phase III clinical trial (ALSYMPCA) to treat bone metastases resulting from castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). In June 2011, the trial was stopped early on the basis of showing an overall survival benefit. Alpharadin is also under investigation in phase II clinical trials as a potential new treatment for bone metastases in endocrine-refractory breast cancer patients, and in a phase I/IIa trial in combination with docetaxel chemotherapy in for bone metastases CRPC patients.
Algeta is also exploring the potential of Targeted Thorium Conjugates (TTCs), which are based on conjugating the alpha-emitter thorium-227 to targeting molecules, as a basis of a future pipeline of tumor-targeting alpha-pharmaceutical candidates.
The Company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and was founded in 1997. Algeta listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in March 2007 (Ticker: ALGETA).
Alpharadin and Algeta are trademarks of Algeta ASA.
This news release contains forward-looking statements and forecasts based on uncertainty, since they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future and which, by their nature, will have an impact on results of operations and the financial condition of Algeta. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These factors include, among other things, risks associated with technological development, the risk that research & development will not yield new products that achieve commercial success, the impact of competition, the ability to close viable and profitable business deals, the risk of non-approval of patents not yet granted and difficulties of obtaining relevant governmental approvals for new products.
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements acc. to §5-12 vphl (Norwegian Securities Trading Act)
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