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Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Advanced Proteome Therapeutics embarks on new era of cancer therapy with unique “multiple warhead” platform
Advanced Proteome Therapeutics (CVE:APC) says it has a technology that it likens to a "multiple warhead" in the so-called war on cancer, with a potential three-in-one treatment that acts as a targeted, combination and homogeneous therapy - all in a single agent.
The drug developer announced its business plans for 2013 in a statement Monday, laying out its goals for the first half of this year with regards to its program.
The company's technology is based on a proprietary platform that can be used to attach known therapeutics to specific sites on proteins - in this case, proteins that have shown affinity for specific cancer cells, hence the targeted and combination therapy.
The attachments are designed to boost the properties of the protein targeted for the specific cancer cells, giving it additional therapeutic abilities.
There has been an explosion in the development of targeted cancer therapies in recent years as they are expected to be far more potent and less toxic than classical methods like chemotherapy that also attack healthy cells. These targeted therapies are expected to dominate the market in the near future.
But Advanced Proteome's therapy is different because of the combination aspect, meaning the company can attach more than one drug to the protein, and also because of the agent's homogeneity.
"The exemplar of targeted therapy right now, the antibody drug conjugate, has significant limitations as they all have one type of drug attached to the antibody and they are heterogeneous - meaning they are really crude chemically and difficult to develop and improve upon in the systematic way the industry has been accustomed to traditionally," says CEO Allen Krantz.
The homogeneity aspect of Advanced Proteome's therapy originates from the use of a protein not only as a delivery system, but also as a scaffold on which to attach each anti-cancer entity to its own specific site on the protein - key to efficient manufacturing and product development.
The feature allows the company to produce single agents, or protein conjugates, bearing multiple therapies.
"They are well-characterized agents that can be manufactured in high purity and developed systematically," says Krantz. "You can make incremental changes, with each change guiding you on how to optimize the agent."
The company is already seeking contracts with laboratories to test its technology, and once this is complete, it will begin a first round of testing, with the single agents to be screened for their ability to target cancer cells specifically, and for any obvious toxic effects on healthy cells.
Over the next six months, Advanced Proteome says it also expects that any promising agents will undergo animal testing in a second round, to determine the potency and toxicity of the therapy.
"The testing methods have been developed and a number of molecules that we are interested in testing have been made, and we are now in the process of getting contracts signed," says the CEO, adding that the ultimate goal will be to target breast and ovarian cancer cells.
"The general feeling in the field is that it is immensely difficult to control cancer for a very long time with a single therapy because of the heterogeneity of cancer cells and resistance issues, which is why combination therapy is so important.
“The more advanced the cancer, the more “weapons” you need in combination therapy."
Indeed, the company's Advanced Protein Conjugate Therapeutic combines critically important factors of a cancer treatment into one, based on what the company calls the "Foundation Trinity", Krantz says.
He adds that there are "numerous other" opportunities with its conjugate therapy that can go beyond cancer, as a therapeutic can also be delivered to cells that are in the process of dying.
"The delivery system can, in principle, either kill the cell or potentially save it depending on what drug you deliver."
The drug developer recently raised $855,000 in private placement financings and is expecting that as it delivers on its goals, it will raise more funds, with its stock set to appreciate in value.
Investors are indeed tuning into the company's potential, as its shares are changing hands at around 15 cents, having more than doubled since the end of December.
"We are embarking on a great adventure and we are hoping to generate lots of news in the short term on the attractiveness of this agent," concludes Krantz.