Algeta has negotiated a 12-month option to license Lumiphore’s Lumi4® chelator technology for use in the development of therapeutic radiopharmaceuticals. The firm has been granted exclusive access to the Lumi4 isophthalamide chelator technology and will evaluate its ability to link the alpha-emitter thorium-227 to tumor-targeting molecules such as antibodies.
The firm says its previous studies have validated the general approach of linking thorium-227 to tumor-targeting monoclonal antibodies using nonproprietary chelators. It believes the Lumi4 technology will have potential advantages over previous chelator platforms in terms of more rapid, efficient, and cost-effective chelation and conjugation processes, and greater conjugation stability.
Algeta says the last few months have seen it start a number of programs focused on developing its own thorium technology further and expanding its in-house expertise. “We believe that the unique advantages of alpha-emitters over toxins as payloads, such as potency and their ability to overcome drug-resistance by virtue of their direct tumor-killing mechanism of action, may lead to an enhanced clinical effect from this new class of thorium-based alpha-pharmaceuticals,” states Andrew Kay, Algeta president and CEO.
While Algeta’s thorium-227 technology is still at the preclinical stage, its lead radionuclide-based anticancer candidate, Alpharadin® (radium-223 chloride), is currently undergoing Phase III trials for the primary indication of treating bone metastases in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer. In September 2009 Algeta inked a $61 million up-front deal with Bayer Schering Pharma for the development and global commercialization of Alpharadin in prostate and other major cancers that frequently spread to bone.