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EGFR-targeting antibody licensed to Abbott

The international Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR) announced today that one of its spin-off companies, Life Science Pharmaceuticals, has licensed its lead cancer therapy candidate, antibody 806, to pharmaceutical company Abbott.

The 806 antibody targets the EGFR cell surface protein but crucially only when the protein is over-expressed (over-produced) in cancer. Overexpression of EGFR occurs in more than 50% of some types of cancers. Current therapies that target EGFR, such as Tarceva and Erbitux, cause side-effects by targeting EGFR both when it is overexpressed on cancer cells and when it is present in usual amounts on normal cells.

According to Prof. Andrew M. Scott, Director of the LICR Melbourne Centre, the ability of the 806 antibody to distinguish between normal EGFR and over-expressed EGFR made it the first example of a second-generation of targeting antibodies. "Our phase I clinical trial showed very clearly that the 806 antibody exquisitely targets a variety of tumours, including brain, lung, head and neck, skin and colorectal cancers. Most importantly, we demonstrated that the antibody does not bind to any normal tissues or cause any significant toxicity. This suggests the 806 antibody will have anti-tumour effects without the side effects commonly seen following treatment with other EGFR-targeting therapies."

The 806 antibody was generated in the laboratory of Dr. Lloyd J. Old, Director of the LICR New York Branch, to bind specifically to a mutant EGFR found in glioblastoma, a particular type of brain tumour. However, detailed characterization by the Institute's branches in Melbourne, New York and San Diego showed that the 806 antibody binds also to normal EGFR only when it is over-expressed, such as on cancer cells.


Contact: Sarah L. White
Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

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