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May 2, 2013

Algeta Expands Cancer Drug Collaboration with Lumiphore

  • Algeta will expand its three-year-old cancer drug collaboration with Lumiphore by taking an exclusive worldwide license for the latter’s Lumi4® bi-functional chelator technology, and extending the collaboration to include additional chelator families being developed by the former, the companies said today.

    Algeta said it is assembling those families and other technologies to create a pipeline of Targeted Thorium Conjugates (TTCs), designed to conjugate to tumor-targeting molecules.

    The extension follows Algeta’s completing evaluation of Lumiphore’s Lumi4, in which bi-functional metal chelators form a cage structure that surrounds and tightly binds thorium-227, an isotope that emits high-energy alpha particles but has a highly localized effect. The thorium-227 can then be covalently attached to a range of tumor-targeting molecules, such as monoclonal antibodies, to create cancer drugs that kill tumor cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues.

    In the latest collaboration extension, Algeta has also been granted a license by Lumiphore covering a second class of bi-functional chelators that bind more strongly to thorium-227, with the option of including a further selection of compounds within that license, if future exploratory work confirms their promise.  Algeta also has the right to develop in vivo companion diagnostics for radio-imaging.

    Financial terms were not disclosed. The companies originally signed an option/license agreement in 2010, and later subsequently extended it to enable additional further evaluation.

    “The ability to chelate radioactive metal isotopes [radiotracers] and covalently attach them to therapeutic antibodies, peptides, proteins, or other receptor targeting molecules will benefit targeted delivery to cancer sites and has the potential to make current therapeutic antibodies more effective," Kenneth Raymond, Ph.D., Lumiphore’s president and CEO, said in a statement. Dr. Raymond joined coworkers at the University of California, Berkeley in developing and patenting the technology behind the Lumi4 complexes, which Lumiphore has since modified.

    Steve Blose, Lumiphore's CBO, said in the statement that its technology also offers another therapeutic method for users of antibody-drug conjugates, while drug developers using therapeutic antibodies could also incorporate the company’s technology to develop site-directed in vivo radiodiagnostics that diagnose and monitor therapeutic efficacy through radio-imaging.

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