— ‘In vivo’ diagnostic rights granted for cancer imaging —
Oxford, UK – 7 June 2011: Oxford BioMedica plc (“Oxford BioMedica” or “the Company”) (LSE: OXB), a leading gene therapy company, today announces that it has signed a research collaboration agreement with ImaginAb, Inc. (“ImaginAb”), a biotechnology company specialising in the development of engineered antibody fragments for diagnostic imaging and novel therapeutic applications, to engineer an in vivo diagnostic imaging agent using an antibody targeting the Company’s proprietary 5T4 tumour antigen. Following proof-of-concept, the agreement includes an option for ImaginAb to negotiate an exclusive license for commercialisation of an in vivo 5T4-based imaging diagnostic. On that basis, Oxford BioMedica could receive proceeds of up to US$4 million in initiation and development milestone payments, in addition to royalties on product sales, subject to the achievement of certain programme objectives.
ImaginAb plans to develop an in vivo diagnostic imaging agent for positron emission tomography (PET), a nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image of functional processes in the body, which will initially be applied to ovarian cancer imaging.
John Dawson, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford BioMedica, said: “Having recently broadened our partnership with Pfizer for the ‘in vitro’ diagnostic use of antibodies targeting our 5T4 tumour antigen, today’s collaboration with ImaginAb further emphasises the importance of 5T4 as a target for novel anti-cancer interventions. As a companion diagnostic, targeted molecular imaging has the potential to form the basis of sophisticated patient diagnosis and treatment approaches that can positively impact the economics of therapeutic development.”
Commenting on the collaboration, Dr Christian Behrenbruch, Chief Executive Officer of ImaginAb, said: “The 5T4 tumour antigen is an extremely promising diagnostic and therapeutic target and we are interested in 5T4 for a variety of ‘in vivo’ diagnostic indications in oncology. We are particularly enthusiastic about this target for imaging ovarian cancer as the diagnosis and staging of this tragic disease is still inadequately managed with existing clinical imaging techniques and represents a major unmet medical need.”