Preclinical Studies Show 227Th-rituximab More Effective at Killing CD20-Positive Lymphoma Cells Than 90Y-tiuxetan-ibritumomab (Zevalin)
OSLO, Norway, 14 June 2007 - Algeta ASA (OSE: ALGETA), the Norwegian cancer therapeutics company, announces that a research paper showing the potential of its TH-1 technology for targeted cancer therapy has been published by the leading medical journal, Blood, the official journal of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).
Algeta's TH-1 technology links Thorium-227, which emits alpha particles, to cancer-targeting molecules such as antibodies. Alpha-emitting radionuclides are of considerable interest in the treatment of cancer as they are highly destructive to tumour cells but have very short range. Linking this radionuclide to tumour-seeking molecules creates a conjugate with the potential to specifically seek and destroy cancers while leaving surrounding healthy tissues undamaged.
The Blood paper describes how researchers from the Norwegian Radium Hospital (Oslo) in collaboration with Professor Oliver Press at the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center (Seattle, USA) and Algeta have linked Thorium-227 to the monoclonal antibody rituximab to create 227Th-rituximab and demonstrated its potent anti-tumour effects.
Rituximab binds to a specific molecule on the cancer cell surface called CD20 and is marketed in USA as Rituxan® by Genentech and Biogen-Idec for the treatment of certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and rheumatoid arthritis, and as MabThera® by Roche for the treatment of certain types of NHL. Rituximab-based therapies generated global sales of nearly $6 billion in 2006.
In in vitro studies 227Th-rituximab killed CD20-positive lymphoma cells at low doses (Bq/ml) while in preclinical models, a single injection of 227Th-rituximab induced complete tumor regression in up to 60% of tumours without apparent toxicity.< p>Therapy with 227Th-rituximab was significantly more effective than the control radioimmunoconjugate 227Th-trastuzumab, which does not bind CD20, and the standard beta particle emitting radioimmunoconjugate for CD20-positive lymphoma, Zevalin® (90Y-tiuxetan-ibritumomab), which is marketed by Biogen-Idec.
Dr Thomas Ramdahl, President and CEO of Algeta commented: "This important paper provides more evidence of the potential of alpha particle based molecules for targeted cancer therapy. The publication follows excellent Phase II clinical data for our lead product Alpharadin (radium-223) in prostate cancer, which was published recently in the Lancet Oncology. We are working with collaborators to validate our TH-1 technology and are looking for further partnering opportunities with companies that have interesting cancer-targeting molecules that would benefit from this approach."
Targeted cancer therapy with a novel low dose rate alpha-emitting radioimmunoconjugate (2007) Dahle, J. et al. (2007)
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Dr. Thomas Ramdahl, CEO +47 23 00 79 90 / +47 913 91 458 (mob) Geir Christian Melen, CFO +47 23 00 79 90 / +47 913 02 965 (mob) firstname.lastname@example.org
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Algeta ASA (www.algeta.com) is a Norwegian cancer therapeutics company built on world-leading, proprietary technology.
Algeta is developing new, targeted cancer therapeutics that harness the unique characteristics of alpha particle emitters and are pote nt, well-tolerated and convenient to use.
Algeta's lead product candidate, Alpharadin, is expected to enter Phase III clinical trials in hormone refractory prostate cancer based on positive Phase II results. Alpharadin is a novel bone-seeking therapeutic based on the alpha particle emitter radium-223 and may target skeletal metastases from multiple cancer types, as well as primary bone cancers.
Algeta is also developing other technologies for delivering alpha emitters. These include microparticles, liposomes, and methods to enhance the potency of therapeutic antibodies and other tumor-targeting molecules by linking them to the alpha particle emitter thorium-227.
The Company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and was founded in 1997. Algeta listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in March 2007 (Ticker: ALGETA).
Alpharadin and Algeta are trademarks of Algeta ASA.
This news release contains forward-looking statements and forecasts based on uncertainty, since they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future and which, by their nature, will have an impact on results of operations and the financial condition of Algeta. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Theses factors include, among other things, risks associated with technological development, the risk that research & development will not yield new products that achieve commercial success, the impact of competition, the ability to close viable and profitable business deals, the risk of non-approval of patents not yet granted and difficulties of obtaining relevant governmental approvals for new products
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