Oncurious NV, an emerging oncology company focused on the development of innovative orphan drugs for the treatment of paediatric tumours, announces that it has signed a partnership with the Neuroblastoma and Medulloblastoma Translational Research Consortium (NMTRC), a collaboration of 25 US academic medical centres, teaching hospitals and other entities, with the purpose of facilitating and conducting collaborative research activities and investigations of new treatments for neuroblastoma, medulloblastoma and other paediatric cancers.
NMTRC is headquartered at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
The partnership is a last step in the preparative work by Oncurious and BioInvent International AB before initiating a Phase I/IIa clinical programme with TB-403 for the treatment of medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma and Ewings sarcoma, all rare, life-threatening paediatric cancers.
BioInvent International AB is the clinical development partner for the planned TB-403 clinical trial. Final preparations to enable opening the study for enrollment are ongoing.
TB-403 is a humanized monoclonal antibody against placental growth factor (PlGF). PlGF is expressed in several types of cancer, including medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma and Ewings sarcoma. High expression of the PlGF receptor neuropilin 1 has been shown to correlate with poor overall survival.
A paper in Cell in February 2013, highlighted for the first time that PlGF plays a vital role in the brain and that its expression is required for the growth and spread of medulloblastoma. The paper was based on preclinical research conducted by Prof. Rakesh Jain from the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard (Boston) and the team of Prof Peter Carmeliet from VIB/ KU Leuven.
Patrik De Haes, MD, Executive Chairman of Oncurious NV, comments: “This agreement with NMTRC will give Oncurious and BioInvent International access to a significant number of centres with considerable expertise in treating children with medulloblastoma. The broad NMTRC clinical network will be a major positive as we set out to develop TB-403 as a novel improved treatment for children with medulloblastoma, neuroblastoma and Ewings sarcoma.”
Michael Oredsson, CEO of BioInvent, adds: “The collaboration with NMTRC and its investigator network brings a wealth of experience in the paediatric oncology field into this project, and takes us one important step closer to potentially providing a new, targeted treatment option for a group of patients with a tremendous unmet medical need.”