Scorpion-venom peptide technology will be used to develop new anticancer conjugates.
Eisai’s Morphotek subsidiary has acquired specific assets relating to TransMolecular’s tumor-targeting peptide (TTP) drug delivery platform. The deal gives Morphotek ownership of the TTP platform for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. The firm says it aims to work with other units in the Eisai Product Creation Systems network to develop TTP conjugates for treating a range of cancers. Financial details of the transaction include an up-front fee and future development milestones paid to TransMolecular’s shareholders.
The TTP platform is based on a scorpion venom-derived peptide that can be harnessed to deliver conjugated radionucleotides, chemotoxins, nanoparticles, and optical dyes directly to tumor cells, Morphotek explains. The tumor-targeting capabilities of the peptide and its derivatives have been demonstrated in preclinical and clinical studies, Morphotek points out.
“The acquisition of the TransMolecular tumor-targeting platform is yet another step in our evolution to become a leader in developing disease-specific compounds that can target disease cells and/or treat the underlying cause of a targeted disease,” remarks Hideki Hayashi, chief product creation officer at Eisai. “Our strategy is to continue to pursue access to new cutting-edge technologies that will enable us to further support our current and future pipeline objectives.”
TransMolecular says selling its assets to Morphotek will benefit its investors and maximize the potential for the TTP platform. “We have great confidence in Morphotek’s ability to develop innovative therapies created from TransMolecular’s broadly enabling platform technology,” comments Curt LaBelle, one of the firm’s directors.
Morphotek is a clinical-stage biopharma leveraging its existing Morphodoma whole-genome evolution technology and Libradoma antibody library platforms to antibody therapeutics against cancer, inflammation, and infectious diseases.