Swedish firm Cantargia is teaming up with California-based Panorama Research to support the optimization and preclinical development of a Cantargia antibody program, currently designated CANxx, against autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

The CANxx program aims to develop an antibody that targets IL1RAP, or interleukin 1 receptor accessory protein, to block inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-33 or IL-36. Under terms of the agreement, Cantargia will generate prototype antibodies, which will be optimized using Panorama’s antibody technologies. Panorama will also generate cell lines for high-level GMP production.

Cantargia retains responsibility for all subsequent preclinical and clinical development, as well as GMP manufacture. The firms have agreed to a risk-sharing deal, through which Panorama could earn a percentage of future sales income or payments from third parties. Cantargia’s strategy is to develop products to the point of demonstrating clinical activity, and then look for partners for continued development.

Cantargia’s lead preclinical-stage anticancer candidate CAN04 is another IL1RAP-targeting anibody designed to activate immune system killer cells and block signals that lead to tumor growth. The firm aims to develop CAN04 into clinical trials initially against non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer, both as monotherapy and as combination therapy. An additional clinial study will look at mechanisms of action and biomarkers during treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Last month, Cantargia submitted its first application to start a Phase I/IIa clinical trial with CAN04 in NSCLC and pancreatic cancer patients in BeNeLux and Scandinavian countries. The prospective trial has been designated CANFOUR.

Commenting on the deal with Panorama for the second antibody program, Cantargia CEO Göran Forsberg, Ph.D.,  said, “This partnership is of major importance for Cantargia. It means that our lead project CAN04 for cancer treatment as well as our second project CANxx are both financed according to plan.”

Panorama is a biotech and pharmaceutical incubator based in Sunnyvale, CA, which supports the development of both in-house-discovered and in-licensed technologies. Promising programs are then licensed out to partners or developed by portfolio companies. Panorama also offers services that include antibody humanization and monoclonal antibody production.

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