WALTHAM, Massachusetts and LELYSTAD, The Netherlands, January 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Mercator Therapeutics, the first biopharmaceutical company to systematically use in vivo phage display technology to develop novel cancer drugs and Pepscan Therapeutics, a world leader in protein mimicry technologies for improved therapeutic peptides and anti-GPCR antibodies, today announced a multi-program research collaboration. The companies will collaborate to optimize Mercator's 'Homing Peptides' using Pepscan's proprietary CLIPS technology.
Mercator's Homing Peptides are discovered through a unique in vivo screening process, including screening in consenting end-stage cancer patients. These peptides have been demonstrated in vivo to bind to receptors that are highly expressed on human tumors and induce internalization of both the peptide and the receptor. Pepscan's CLIPS technology will be applied to improve the potency and stability of peptides by locking the peptides into the biologically active conformation.
Dr. Roy Lobb, Chairman & CSO of Mercator, commented, "Pepscan's approach to peptide optimization is unique, systematic, fast, and efficient, and it provides Mercator with an opportunity to rapidly move its peptide-drug conjugates (PDCs) into development."
Under the terms of the Research and License Agreement between Mercator and Pepscan, Pepscan will increase the potency and stability of Mercator's Homing Peptides and license to Mercator the associated intellectual property rights. Mercator will pay Pepscan undisclosed research funding, milestones, and royalties in connection with the development of optimized Homing Peptides and the development and commercialization of PDC products that couple optimized Homing Peptides with tumor-killing payloads.
"Mercator is in a unique position to make a big difference in cancer treatment," said Dr. Wim Mol, CEO of Pepscan. "The Pepscan team is excited to work with Mercator on designing and building optimized targeting moieties for Mercator's PDCs. We see the promise of Mercator's technology, and we are pleased to help Mercator achieve that promise."
About Mercator Therapeutics, Inc.
Mercator Therapeutics is the first biopharmaceutical company to use in vivo phage display technology systematically to develop novel cancer drugs. Mercator was founded to translate the research of Drs. Wadih Arap and Renata Pasqualini into effective cancer therapeutics. Drs. Arap and Pasqualini pioneered the use of in vivo phage display to identify peptides that are believed to selectively deliver tumor-killing payloads without damaging surrounding tissue. Targeting of drugs selectively to tumors in man has been a goal of basic and translational research for decades. The Arap-Pasqualini Lab is addressing this problem by directly injecting peptide-expressing phage libraries in vivo - most recently in end-stage cancer patients under strict ethical guidelines - and identifying a suite of peptides responsible for tumor targeting. Mercator has exclusive rights to translate this research into novel cancer therapeutics. Mercator is located in Waltham, Massachusetts. Contact Chris Guiffre at [email protected] for further information while Mercator's website is under construction.
About Pepscan Therapeutics
Pepscan Therapeutics is a privately held company based in Lelystad, The Netherlands. Pepscan is using its proprietary high throughput CLIPS protein mimicking technology for the development of novel constrained therapeutic peptides and immunogens.
CLIPS (Chemical LInkage of Peptides onto Scaffolds) is a technology to present one or more peptides in a structurally constrained configuration. These molecules behave as functional mimics of complex protein domains. Besides its pipeline of proprietary anti-GPCR monoclonal antibody products, Pepscan has various ongoing collaborations with leading pharmaceutical and biotech companies to develop novel therapeutics based on the proprietary CLIPS technology.
SOURCE Pepscan Therapeutics BV