-- 'In vivo' diagnostic rights granted for cancer imaging --
OXFORD, United Kingdom, June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Oxford BioMedicaplc ("Oxford BioMedica" or "the Company") (LSE: OXB), a leading gene therapy company, today announces that it has signed a research collaboration agreement with ImaginAb, Inc. ("ImaginAb"), a biotechnology company specialising in the development of engineered antibody fragments for diagnostic imaging and novel therapeutic applications, to engineer an in vivo diagnostic imaging agent using an antibody targeting the Company's proprietary 5T4 tumour antigen. Following proof-of-concept, the agreement includes an option for ImaginAb to negotiate an exclusive license for commercialisation of an in vivo 5T4-based imaging diagnostic. On that basis, Oxford BioMedica could receive proceeds of up to US$4 million in initiation and development milestone payments, in addition to royalties on product sales, subject to the achievement of certain programme objectives.
ImaginAb plans to develop an in vivo diagnostic imaging agent for positron emission tomography (PET), a nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image of functional processes in the body, which will initially be applied to ovarian cancer imaging.
John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford BioMedica, said: "Having recently broadened our partnership with Pfizer for the 'in vitro' diagnostic use of antibodies targeting our 5T4 tumour antigen, today's collaboration with ImaginAb further emphasises the importance of 5T4 as a target for novel anti-cancer interventions. As a companion diagnostic, targeted molecular imaging has the potential to form the basis of sophisticated patient diagnosis and treatment approaches that can positively impact the economics of therapeutic development."
Commenting on the collaboration, Dr Christian Behrenbruch, Chief Executive Officer of ImaginAb, said: "The 5T4 tumour antigen is an extremely promising diagnostic and therapeutic target and we are interested in 5T4 for a variety of 'in vivo' diagnostic indications in oncology. We are particularly enthusiastic about this target for imaging ovarian cancer as the diagnosis and staging of this tragic disease is still inadequately managed with existing clinical imaging techniques and represents a major unmet medical need."
Notes to editors
Oxford BioMedicaplc (LSE: OXB) is a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative gene-based medicines and therapeutic vaccines that aim to improve the lives of patients with high unmet medical needs. The Company's technology platform includes a highly efficient LentiVector® gene delivery system, which has specific advantages for targeting diseases of the central nervous system and the eye; and a unique tumour antigen (5T4), which is an ideal target for anti-cancer therapy. Through in-house and collaborative research, Oxford BioMedica has a broad pipeline and its partners include Sanofi, Sigma-Aldrich and Pfizer. Further information is available at www.oxfordbiomedica.co.uk.
2. ImaginAb, Inc.
Founded in 2007 by UCLA Faculty (Drs. Robert Reiter, Anna Wu and Christian Behrenbruch), ImaginAb, Inc. is a biotechnology company specialising in the development of engineered antibody fragments for diagnostic imaging and novel therapeutic applications. The company has a significant pipeline of clinical products in development oriented towards unmet needs in cancer and immunology. ImaginAb is also developing a range of pre-clinical (animal imaging) reagents for use with microPET, microSPECT and optical imaging systems, and partners on a selective basis with biopharmaceutical companies with an interest in developing companion imaging agents for therapeutic antibody products. For more information about ImaginAb, visit www.imaginab.com.
3. 5T4 Tumour Antigen
The 5T4 tumour antigen is a unique protein found on most common types of solid cancer. It is potentially a valuable target for novel anti-cancer interventions given its restricted expression in normal tissues and its high prevalence on the surface of both primary and metastatic cancerous cells. The 5T4 tumour antigen was identified through research into the similarities between the development of the placenta during pregnancy and the progression of cancer. 5T4 is produced by both cancerous cells and also by placental and foetal cells, suggesting that the process of immunological escape in pregnancy and cancer is based on similar mechanisms. TroVax® is Oxford BioMedica's 5T4-specific therapeutic vaccine candidate which is in Phase II development. In collaboration with Pfizer, pre-clinical evaluation of Oxford BioMedica's 5T4-targeted antibody therapy is on-going to optimise the product for clinical development.
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SOURCE ImaginAb, Inc.