Family of compounds from NRC-BRI target secreted clusterin.

Alethia Biotherapeutics is licensing exclusive, worldwide therapeutic and diagnostic rights to clusterin-specific antibodies from the NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI). The lead product, 16B5, is a humanized mAb in preclinical development.

Testing in animal models of metastatic cancer including hormone-resistant prostate cancer, invasive breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer has shown promise. Alethia says that it is primed to launch large-scale manufacturing of 16B5 to carry out toxicology studies in preparation for the filing of an IND soon.

Increasing evidence points to tumor cell epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as an important contributing process to metastatic evolution, explains Alethia. In addition, epithelial cancer cells that undergo EMT adopt a behavior that is very similar to cancer stem cells, including an inherent resistance to chemo and radiotherapy.

Thus, the identification of proteins that participate and promote EMT may represent new therapeutic targets to increase the sensitivity of tumors to chemotherapy and prevent metastasis, the company notes. The program that Alethia has acquired includes mAbs that block the function of secreted clusterin (sCLU), which seems to be a critical downstream effector of EMT, according to Mario Filion, evp and CSO.

“In addition, recent literature has shed light on new stimulators of EMT such as response to chemotherapy, hypoxia, immune cell infiltration in tumors, and various cytokines. Taken together, these observations support the development of monoclonal antibodies against cancer-associated sCLU as an innovative solution for the treatment of solid tumors.”

Other News from Alethia

Alethia Obtains $2.2M Financing to Advance Preclinical mAbs (Apr. 23, 2009)

Alethia and Emerillon to Tackle Bone Diseases (May 1, 2007)

Alethia and Biosite Commit to Mab Development in Ovarian Cancer (Mar. 12, 2007)

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