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Joint Development Agreement for Highly Targeted Radiotherapy

Published on October 26, 2010 at 6:00 AM

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 results.”

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.

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