Algeta initiates research program to evaluate TTC

Algeta ASA has initiated a new research program to evaluate Targeted Thorium Conjugate, or TTC, that combines Algeta's thorium-227 alpha-pharmaceutical payload with an anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody, or epratuzumab, developed by Immunomedics, Inc.

Epratuzumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody (mAb) that binds to the CD22 glycoprotein on the surface of B cells. Epratuzumab has been evaluated for the treatment of a variety of hematological cancers and for autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).

Under the terms of this agreement, Immunomedics will provide clinical-grade antibody to Algeta, which has rights to evaluate the potential of a TTC, linking thorium-227 to epratuzumab, for the treatment of cancer. Algeta will fund all preclinical and clinical development costs up to the end of Phase I testing.

Upon successful completion of Phase I testing, the parties shall negotiate terms for a license at Algeta's request according to certain parameters now agreed between the companies. Payments in the first year from Algeta to Immunomedics include a signature fee, an antibody delivery milestone and payments for cGMP antibody manufacture.

Thomas Ramdahl, Executive vice president and Chief Technology Officer of Algeta,said: "The broad utility of our proprietary thorium-227 payload and its potential to be more effective at killing cancer cells than other therapeutic payloads gives Algeta a great opportunity to build an extensive pipeline of targeted cancer therapies. This collaboration brings together Algeta, the global leader in alpha-pharmaceuticals and Immunomedics, a pioneer in antibody products and technologies. A TTC based on a well-validated antibody such as epratuzumab is an exciting prospect as we work to achieve our goal of generating a clinical candidate from the TTC platform in 2014."