LONDON and NOTTINGHAM, England, November 12, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- London Genetics Limited, an expert in the use of pharmacogenetics in clinical drug discovery and development, and Astrimmune, which is focused on gastrointestinal cancers, are pleased to announce that they have entered into a collaboration to plan a biomarker identification programme. The plan, for Astrimmune's early-stage pancreatic cancer vaccine candidate, will be used in applications for further funding of its development. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Astrimmune's vaccine candidate induces the production of antibodies against gastrin, a hormone which is known to stimulate the growth of many types of gastrointestinal cancer. Since differential response rates have been observed in clinical trials of other gastrin-blocking products, with some patients responding very well and others hardly at all, there is a clear need for biomarkers to help identify those patients most likely to benefit from Astrimmune's product. For example, there is a possibility that the variable response rates may have been due in part to the inclusion of some patients with gastrin-insensitive tumours, or those not able to respond immunologically.
Under the terms of the collaboration, which is supported by a grant from the UK East Midlands Development Agency, London Genetics and Astrimmune will put together a proposal for identification of biomarkers predictive of clinical response. London Genetics' seven academic partners, which have an annual research budget of over GBP650m, are able to provide expertise in areas such as tumour biopsy samples and animal models, as well as expertise in the genetics of immune responses to cancer vaccines.
Dominique Kleyn, CEO of London Genetics, said, 'This collaboration is a significant pharmacogenetics development opportunity, and we are pleased to be working with Astrimmune on this important project. As exemplified by our recent collaboration with Diaceutics and increasingly recognised by the biopharmaceutical industry, pharmacogenetics, biomarkers and patient stratification are becoming an important part of the drug discovery and development process. London Genetics' network of over 3,000 academic groups makes it an ideal partner for pharma and biotech companies in this work.'
Fred Jacobs, Managing Director of Astrimmune, said, 'Pancreatic cancer is an area of serious unmet medical need, with a five-year survival rate of around 5% and few treatment options. Availability of a biomarker to select those patients mostly likely to benefit from Astrimmune's vaccine candidate can be expected to expedite the development of this product and increase its chances of coming to market in the future. London Genetics is an expert in this area and Astrimmune is delighted to be working with the company on this important part of the project development.'
About London Genetics: London Genetics Limited, a not-for-profit company, is an expert in the use of pharmacogenetics in clinical drug discovery and development. Established in 2007 with funding from the London Development Agency, its seven founding partners are leading London academic and medical institutions with clinical and genetic expertise and significant patient resources. The company provides pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies with access to this expertise and resource, as well as providing strategic advice on the application of pharmacogenetics for successful drug development. LGL has broad therapeutic expertise, based on its access to 3,000 academic groups with a GBP650m annual research spend. Recent deals by London Genetics include a partnership with Diaceutics to accelerate biomarker development in the biopharmaceutical industry. LGL is based in central London and has ISO 9001 accreditation. For further information, please go to http://www.londongenetics.com
About Astrimmune: Astrimmune (Company Registration: 06379008), is a limited, social enterprise company developing treatments for gastrointestinal cancers. Astrimmune is focussed on the elimination of cancer growth factors that are not yet commercialised and is progressing a new immunogen vaccine candidate for use in gastro-intestinal cancers. The distillation of their prior knowledge, coupled with a research programme to refine patient selection to identify the most responsive patients, provides for an accelerated, low cost development path with an increased chance of successful product registration in the EU and the US. For further information, please go to http://astrimmune.blogspot.com/