Champions Biotechnology established an exclusive licensing agreement with Ramot, Tel Aviv University’s technology transfer unit, for the development and commercialization of TAR-1. This single-chain antibody fragment is in preclinical development and is thought to have an advantage in treating cancer patients because of its high specificity and affinity to binding mutant p53 protein, according to Ramot.
Under the terms of the agreement, Champions has obtained the worldwide rights to TAR-1 and is responsible for the further development of the compound. Champions will utilize its Biomerk Tumorgraft™ platform technology to evaluate the activity of TAR-1 and determine the best path forward for the compound in regards to indication, patient population, and potential drug combinations.
Ramot will receive an up-front payment and will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties if Champions chooses to continue the license terms, which will be determined based on results from testing TAR-1 in the predictive Tumorgraft platform.
The Biomerk Tumorgraft platform is based upon the implantation of primary human tumors in immune-deficient mice followed by propagation of the resulting engraftments in a manner that preserves the biological characteristics of the original human tumor, Champions Biotechnology explains. Early studies suggest that unlike traditional xenografts, these Tumorgrafts closely reflect human cancer biology, and their response to drugs is predictive of clinical outcomes in cancer patients, the firm adds.
“Licensing TAR-1 demonstrates the progression of our strategy to build our own Tumorgraft-driven pipeline of oncology drugs, which we expect to yield improved clinical development success rates,” says Guy Malchi, head of corporate development and international operations. “We were impressed by the potential of TAR-1, and we are planning to continue to in-license oncology drug candidates with compelling science and to develop only those with positive Tumorgraft results.” Champions is also completing Tumorgraft testing of its other oncology drug, SG410, a tubulin inhibitor.