Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: TLX) and AusHealth have entered into a collaboration and technology licensing agreement for a novel Molecularly Targeted Radiation (MTR) platform called APOMA, which is intended to be used for the treatment of ovarian and lung cancers.
Telix CEO Dr Christian Behrenbruch said the APOMAB technology uses antibodies to deliver radiation to cancer cells that express the La/SSB protein, which is present on the surface of certain types of cancer cells.
The research behind the APOMAB technology was led by Professor Michael Brown at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) with support from AusHealth Research, a division of AusHealth.
The partnership will fund a first in-human clinical trial using APOMAB technology to evaluate targeted radiation delivery in cancer patients at the RAH. APOMAB has the potential to be used for multiple cancer indications, with lung and ovarian cancers the initial focus.
AusHealth will lead the clinical activity at the RAH with the planned clinical trial to test the suitability of APOMAB to deliver targeted radiation, subject to ethics and regulatory approvals.
Telix and AusHealth will each invest $300,000 to fund the clinical proof of concept. Subject to successful clinical and commercial development of the technology, Telix will pay AusHealth approximately A$30 million in future milestone and royalty payments.
Targeted radiation has tremendous therapeutic efficacy in many different types of cancer,” Dr Behrenbruch said.
“The APOMAB approach may enable the use of this treatment modality in several new cancer indications that are not currently covered by Telix’s pipeline.
“ We are co-investing with AusHealth to fast-track an initial clinical proof-of-concept to assess the clinical potential, as well as to understand how this technology may be used in conjunction with other radiochemistry technologies currently under development by Telix. We have a very high regard for Prof. Brown and his team and are pleased to be supporting him alongside AusHealth to bring APOMAB to the clinic.”
In 2018 there were an estimated 12,741 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in Australia and in 2019 it is estimated that over 1,000 Australian women will have died from ovarian cancer. These cancers still have five-year survival rates as low as 20%.