Findings Support Development of Micromet's EpCAM-specific Antibody Therapeutics
BETHESDA, Md., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Micromet, Inc. (Nasdaq: MITI), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel, proprietary antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases today announced the publication of an article in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Cell Biology(1) revealing a novel signalling function of the epithelial cell adhesion molecule, or EpCAM (CD326), which is expressed with high frequency on many types of solid tumors. Micromet is developing two antibody drug candidates that target EpCAM: MT110, a T-cell engaging BiTE(R) antibody, and adecatumumab (MT201), a human monoclonal antibody.
Principal investigator and senior author of the article was Micromet's scientific collaborator Olivier Gires at the Grosshadern Hospital of Munich University, Germany. The new data by Gires and colleagues show that only cancer cells have an actively signalling form of EpCAM, while normal cells have an inactive form of EpCAM. When normal cells received the activated form of EpCAM, as is found in tumor cells, and were then injected into mice, they behaved like cancer cells in that they formed tumors.
"The findings of our latest publication may explain why certain cancer patients with a high level of EpCAM expression on their tumor cells have a reduced overall survival compared to patients with low levels of EpCAM on their tumor cells. Since activated EpCAM is expressed on the surface of cancer cells and their stem cells, it is a very promising target for our antibody-based drug candidates," commented Micromet's Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Patrick Baeuerle.
Micromet is developing two antibodies binding to EpCAM. MT110, an EpCAM-specific BiTE antibody, is being tested in a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal or lung cancer. In addition, Micromet is conducting a phase 1 clinical trial with adecatumumab, a human monoclonal antibody binding to EpCAM, investigating its use in combination with docetaxel for patients with metastatic breast cancer. A phase 2 study of adecatumumab in colorectal cancer patients with liver metastases is planned to be initiated this year.
(1) Dorothea Maetzel, Sabine Denzel, Brigitte Mack, Martin Canis, Philip Went, Michael Benk, Cuong Kieu, Peer Papior, Patrick A. Baeuerle, Markus Munz & Olivier Gires. Nuclear signalling by tumor-associated antigen EpCAM. Nature Cell Biology. Published online: 11 January 2009; | doi:10.1038/ncb1824
About Micromet, Inc.
Micromet, Inc. (www.micromet-inc.com) is a biopharmaceutical company with offices in Bethesda, Maryland and Munich, Germany. The Company is developing novel, proprietary antibodies for the treatment of cancer, inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The Company uses its proprietary BiTE(R) antibody platform to create a new class of antibodies that specifically activate T cells from the patient's own immune system to eliminate cancer cells or other disease-related cells. Four of the Company's antibodies are currently in clinical trials, with the remainder of its product pipeline in preclinical development. The Company's lead program is a BiTE antibody known as blinatumomab, or MT103. It is in a phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Micromet is developing blinatumomab in collaboration with MedImmune, a subsidiary of AstraZeneca plc. Micromet's second BiTE antibody in clinical development is MT110, which targets the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM). The Company owns all rights to MT 110, which is currently in a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with solid tumors. The Company's third clinical stage antibody is adecatumumab, also known as MT201, a conventional human monoclonal antibody that targets EpCAM-expressing solid tumors. Micromet is developing adecatumumab in collaboration with Merck Serono in a phase 1b clinical trial evaluating adecatumumab in combination with docetaxel for the treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Micromet has licensed a fourth clinical stage antibody, MT293, to TRACON Pharmaceuticals, Inc. MT293 is being developed in a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with cancer. The Company's preclinical programs include MT203, which is being developed in collaboration with Nycomed. MT203 is a traditional human antibody neutralizing the activity of granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), which has potential applications in the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, or multiple sclerosis. Additional BiTE antibodies, targeting CEA, CD33, Her2, EGFR and MCSP, respectively, are in different stages of preclinical development.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include statements regarding the relevance of EpCAM as a drug target, the efficacy and intended utilization of our product candidates and the development of our BiTE antibody technology. You are urged to consider statements that include the words "could," "may," "appear," "promising," "potential," "planned," or the negative of those words or other similar words to be uncertain and forward-looking. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by any forward-looking statements include the risk that product candidates that appeared promising in early research, preclinical studies or clinical trials do not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in subsequent clinical trials, the risk that encouraging results from early research, preclinical studies or clinical trials may not be confirmed upon further analysis of the detailed results of such research, preclinical study or clinical trial, and the risk that additional information relating to the safety, efficacy or tolerability of our product candidates may be discovered upon further analysis of preclinical or clinical trial data. These factors and others are more fully discussed in Micromet's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2008, filed with the SEC on November 6, 2008, as well as other filings by the company with the SEC.
Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and, as such, speak only as of the date made. Micromet, Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
|SOURCE Micromet, Inc.|
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