Lumiphore Inc., a portfolio company of Nanostart
AG, has signed a global cooperation with Algeta ASA (Oslo Stock Exchange,
ticker: ALGETA), a leading company specializing in innovative radiopharmaceutical
therapies to treat cancer patients. The agreement enables the integration of
Lumiphore’s Lumi4® complexes into the targeted radiotherapeutics and
companion diagnostics from Algeta. This also marks the fourth significant partnership
for Lumiphore in just four years.
The highly targeted form of radiotherapy works by using a new class of radiation-emitting
pharmaceuticals, called “alpha-pharmaceuticals”. These act through
molecular binding to cancer cells, where they can then emit alpha particles
in precisely the right location to treat the tumor.
The agreement provides Algeta with an option to the exclusive rights to incorporate
the Lumi4® isophthalamide chelation technology from Lumiphore into these
targeted radiopharmaceutical therapeutics for cancer.
The Lumi4® complex functions by binding to a radioactive metal ion, which
is the radiation source that emits the alpha particles which in turn destroy
the tumor. At the same time, another portion of the complex binds to the pharmaceutical
substance which is required to identify the tumor cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, Algeta obtains an exclusive 12-month option
to an exclusive license for the use of Lumiphore's Lumi4® chelator technology
within the field of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. The license will also
give Algeta the right to use this technology in companion diagnostics, which
are radiopharmaceuticals for determining either the suitability of patients
for treatment and/or the effectiveness of treatment. Algeta will pay Lumiphore
a fee on signing the option agreement and will make further payments should
it exercise the option and take up the license.
Alpha radiation is of particular interest in fighting cancer because, provided
it can be delivered to the tumor site, it has the potential to effectively destroy
cancer cells while at the same time limiting delivery to the local area and
thus sparing the surrounding healthy tissue. This greatly reduces side effects,
making the therapy an attractive alternative.
“Lumiphore’s goal is to bring the benefits of bifunctional metal-chelation
technology to therapeutic markets that use targeted radiopharmaceuticals to
treat cancer. The ability to chelate radioactive metal isotopes 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,” said
Dr. Ken Raymond, President and CEO of Lumiphore.
Algeta holds a proprietary technology involving the use of thorium-227, an
isotope that emits high-energy alpha particles, to target and destroy cancer
cells. Such isotopes are of considerable interest in the treatment of cancer
as they are potent at killing tumor cells but have a highly localized effect.
By linking thorium-227 to tumor-targeting molecules such as monoclonal antibodies,
Algeta has the potential to create a pipeline of new generation alpha-pharmaceuticals
designed to specifically seek and destroy cancers while minimizing damage to
surrounding healthy tissues.
“Using Lumi4® bifunctional chelates could create a new class of radioimmunotherapeutics,”
explained Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Technology Officer of Algeta. “By linking
thorium-227 to selected tumor targeting antibodies using existing non-proprietary
chelates, Algeta has already demonstrated in vivo the potential of its proprietary
technology for enhancing the performance of radio-immunotherapies based on existing
clinical antibodies. We believe that the new chelators will provide even better
Algeta is a world leader in the medical application of alpha emitters and in
the development of the alpha-pharmaceuticals, an entirely new class of cancer
treatment pharmaceuticals which incorporate these, using drug-coupled alpha
emitters to target and destroy cancer cells.
Lumiphore has other existing partnerships with Thermo Fisher Scientific Specialty
Diagnostics for certain diagnostic tests in both laboratory and point-of-care
formats, such as for Downs Syndrome; with CisBio International, for the drug
discovery research market; and with Biophor Diagnostics Inc. for diagnostic
tests for drugs of abuse.