Madison, Wisconsin (USA) and Courbevoie (France)
Cellectar Biosciences (Nasdaq:CLRB ), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of cancer, and Orano Med (formerly AREVA Med) a subsidiary of Orano, a nuclear biotech company developing innovative therapies in oncology, today announced that the two companies have entered into an agreement to combine certain proprietary technologies from each company to create a novel oncologic therapy. The collaboration will focus on the development of novel phospholipid drug conjugates (PDC™) utilizing Orano Med’s unique alpha emitter, lead-212 (212Pb), conjugated to Cellectar’s phospholipid ether (PLE). The companies intend to evaluate the new PDC in up to three oncology indications.
“We believe that the combination of Cellectar’s targeted delivery with Orano Med’s powerful alpha emitter offers the potential to create a novel and highly potent cancer therapy,” said James Caruso, chief executive officer of Cellectar Biosciences. “This collaboration is an ideal strategic fit and provides an excellent opportunity to expand our radiotherapeutic portfolio beyond CLR 131, a highly potent beta emitter, and establish one of the most complete oncology-focused radiotherapeutic portfolios.”
Cellectar’s proprietary PLE and PLE analogs provide targeted delivery of various molecules, including radioisotopes, to malignant tumor cells with up to 30-fold more payload delivered to the tumor versus normal tissues. Orano Med’s 212Pb is a unique alpha emitter that provides high energy delivery over a shorter distance than other radioisotopes. The higher energy associated with alpha particles causes non-repairable double stranded DNA breaks. As a result, enhanced tumor targeting of the construct may allow the 212Pb to provide greater efficacy at lower doses with less side effects.
Orano Med has partnered 212Pb with other companies to create a broad pipeline of tumor targeting 212Pb therapies. These other collaborations are using diverse biological targeting vectors or pursuing indications separate from those planned in this collaboration. Many of these approaches utilize antibodies or peptides; the most advanced of these approaches has recently entered a Phase 1 clinical trial.
Cellectar and Orano Med believe that the PLE conjugated to 212Pb could be an ideal drug candidate and provide improved anti-cancer effects beyond those seen with some of the other delivery technologies.
“This collaboration with Cellectar is an exciting opportunity for Orano Med. Our 212Pb is a powerful radioactive isotope that at low doses kills cancer cells and has limited impact on nearby healthy cells. We believe that 212Pb conjugated to Cellectar’s PLE has great potential to improve patient outcomes by having a better efficacy and safety profile than other technologies,” said Julien Dodet, CEO of Orano Med.
Under the terms of the agreement, early preclinical costs will be shared equally between the organizations with both parties having an option to advance and commercialize the PDC alone or in collaboration with each other. The option is exercisable after establishment of early proof of concept data.