Nanobiotix, a company developing novel cancer nanotherapeutics, and Thomas Jefferson University, one of Philadelphia's premier medical and health sciences universities, today announced that they have entered into a research collaboration to accelerate the development of Nanobiotix' lead compound NBTXR3 in the US.
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Nanobiotix will fund a 2-year preclinical research program, which will be directed by Bo Lu, M.D., Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Jefferson and Director of the department's Division of Molecular Radiation Biology. The goal of the program is to study the therapeutic efficacy of NBTXR3, the lead product of Nanobiotix´ NanoXray pipeline.
NBTXR3, a nanoparticle consisting of hafnium oxide crystals, aims to enhance the local destruction of the tumor mass during radiotherapy. It accumulates in the cancer cells and, upon radiation, emits huge amounts of electrons leading to the formation of free radicals. These, in turn, damage the cancer cells and cause their targeted destruction. As a result, the destructive power of standard radiation therapy is locally and selectively enhanced within the tumor cells.
"For the treatment of cancer, it is important to develop ways that cause tumor cells to be more sensitive to radiation therapy," said Dr. Bo Lu. "We therefore are very interested in approaches that have the potential to amplify the power of the radiation dose inside the tumor without damaging the surrounding healthy cells."
"The collaboration is an important strategic step to develop our products," said Laurent Levy, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Nanobiotix. "Jefferson is a leader in the field of radiation oncology and Bo Lu is internationally renowned for his work in clinical and translational radiation oncology. Therefore, we are very much looking forward to the results of this collaboration, which will also help us expand our network and visibility in the Unites States."
NBTXR3 has been classified in the EU as class III medical device and is currently being tested in a European Phase I trial to establish feasibility and safety of NBTXR3 in patients with soft tissue sarcoma. Preliminary data are expected by the end of 2012. Further clinical trials are in preparation in Europe and in the US, where NBTXR3 is classified as a drug.