Telix Pharmaceuticals announced that it has entered into an agreement with Scintec Diagnostics GmbH (Scintec) to acquire TheraPharm GmbH, a Swiss-German biotechnology company developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions in the field of hematology.
The acquisition of TheraPharm provides Telix with access to a portfolio of patents, technologies, production systems, clinical data and know-how in relation to the use of Molecularly Targeted Radiation (MTR) in hematology and immunology. TheraPharm is developing antibody MTR technology against CD66, a cell surface target highly expressed by neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. As such, the technology has potentially very broad applications in the diagnosis and treatment of hematologic diseases (e.g. blood cancers), lymphoproliferative disorders and immune-mediated diseases (e.g. lupus, and multiple sclerosis). Of particular interest is the demonstrated use of the technology to safely and effectively perform bone marrow conditioning (BMC) prior to bone marrow stem cell transplant.
Why Telix Pharma to acquire biotech TheraPharm GmbH?
Telix CEO, Dr. Christian Behrenbruch stated, “Telix is committed to extending and improving the lives of patients with serious diseases. As such, the acquisition of TheraPharm and its MTR assets are uniquely aligned to Telix’s mission and technical strengths in antibody engineering and radiochemistry. TheraPharm’s technology has a significant role to play in BMC and stem cell transplantation across a broad range of blood cancers and rare diseases. The current approach to BMC employs highly toxic drugs that have a poor morbidity and mortality profile, and for which many patients are ineligible. MTR offers an excellent safety profile that may greatly expand the number of patients able to undergo life prolonging stem cell transplantation while greatly reducing the hospitalisation burden and cost associated with such procedures.”
TheraPharm co-founder and managing director, Dr. Klaus Bosslet added, “Over the past 5 years, TheraPharm, in collaboration with Dr. Kim Orchard from the University of Southampton (UK), has made excellent progress developing 90Y-besilesomab for the treatment of hematologic cancers and several related conditions including multiple myeloma, leukemia and amyloidosis. This unique asset is a logical addition to Telix’s portfolio, offering a potentially rapid development path to a first commercial indication for the treatment of patients with SALA, while at the same time having potentially broad applications for stem cell transplantation in patients with more common cancers of the blood, including multiple myeloma and leukemia. We look forward to joining the Telix team in order to expedite the development of products for this under-served field.”
Bone marrow conditioning (BMC) followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is presently performed to treat patients with hematologic malignancies (blood cancers), with the objective of extending patient survival or achieving cure. HSCT is also performed for a broad range of non-cancer conditions. HSCT is preferentially performed in countries of high income (Europe >30,000, Americas >20,000, worldwide >65,000 p.a., respectively) and is growing at around 5% annually.
SALA is a rare, but serious protein deposition disease, caused by a protein known as ‘amyloid’ that is produced by abnormal plasma cells residing in the bone marrow. As amyloid accumulates in the organs of the body, organ function will eventually deteriorate, ultimately causing organ failure. SALA has an estimated prevalence of 30,000 and 45,000 in United States and Europe, respectively and while a rare disease, SALA portends a very poor prognosis, with a median survival from diagnosis of ~11 months if untreated.
The current standard of care comprises of induction therapy (typically cyclophosphamide, bortezomib, dexamethasone) plus high dose melphalan BMC, followed by HSCT. This approach is typically only accessible to a small proportion of patients (<20%) who are able to tolerate induction therapy and melphalan BMC.