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GEN News Highlights : Jul 12, 2010

Immunotope and Midatech Establish JV to Develop Nanoparticle-Based Immunotherapeutics

Firms claim Syntara will combine discovery expertise with efficient delivery platform.

Immunotope and Midatech are forming a joint venture to exploit their relevant technologies for the development of antigen-based immunotherapies against chronic viral infections and certain cancers. The new company, Syntara, will have a license to use U.K.-based Midatech’s biocompatible nanoparticle platform alongside Immunotope’s technology for immunotherapeutic antigen discovery and development.

“Syntara will be the first in class of immunotherapy companies with capabilities of clinically relevant antigen discovery and efficient delivery, which is critical for a successful immunotherapy product,” comments Ramila Philip, Ph.D., Immunotope president and CEO.

Immunotope is exploiting its immunoproteomics platform for the development of active immunotherapeutics against solid tumor cancers and infectious diseases and for the development of early cancer diagnostics. The company’s lead clinical-stage product, IMT-1012, is an immunotherapeutic vaccine for the treatment of advanced ovarian and breast cancers. A Phase I trial with IMT-1012 is ongoing at Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Immunotope claims that IMT-1012 is the first immunotherapeutic treatment to combine 12 different antigens, each of which targets a separate and critical pathway present in highly aggressive tumors. Earlier-stage collaborative programs focused on the development of immunotherapeutics against chronic viral diseases such as hepatitis B/C and HIV are also in progress.

The firm’s discovery platform is in addition being used to identify autoantibody biomarkers for early cancer detection. Programs focused on the development of autoantibody signatures for ovarian and prostate cancer are under way with grant funding from NIH and the U.S. Army, respectively.

Midatech has developed a self-assembling biocompatible nanoparticle technology. It claims that the platform allow drugs or drug combinations to be targeted rapidly to specific tissues or cells, potentially including those across the blood brain barrier. The firm’s most advanced product is being prepared for Phase I/II trials.

The establishment of Syntara with Immunotope follows just a couple of weeks after Midatech reported expanding an existing alliance with Monosol Rx to develop nanoparticle-based proteins and peptides for therapeutic delivery using pharmaceutical films.