Amorfix and Helix BioPharma partnering to develop targeted cancer therapeutics
TORONTO, Nov. 11, 2011 /CNW/ - Amorfix Life Sciences, a product development company focused on diagnostics and therapeutics for misfolded protein diseases, today announced that the Company is collaborating with Helix BioPharma to develop novel therapeutics against cancers associated with misfolded prion protein. These novel therapeutics will specifically target tumour cells and are expected to be more effective and safer than traditional cancer treatments.
Antibodies can be effective as therapeutics by delivering a toxic payload directly to the tumour. As part of this collaboration, Amorfix will provide tumour specific antibodies identified and developed with their proprietary ProMIS discovery technology while Helix BioPharma will utilize their proprietary technology to produce antibody-urease conjugates which are toxic to cells.
"This collaboration represents an important combination of technologies required to produce new therapeutics for the effective treatment of cancer" said Dr. Robert Gundel, Amorfix President and Chief Executive Officer. "We have been very successful in generating high affinity antibodies against disease specific epitopes (DSEs) that show preferred binding to certain tumour cells, but not to normal cells. Our lead misfolded PrP antibody shows selective binding to 5 out of 6 human ovarian cancer cell types but does not bind to normal human ovarian tissue. In addition, this antibody binds selectively to 4 out of 6 human lymphoma cancer cells but not to normal human lymphocytes. Ovarian cancer, in particular, remains an area of very high unmet medical need with a current 5 year survival rate of less than 50%. By attaching Helix's urease toxin to our antibody, we are providing an effective means for specific delivery directly to the tumours, and not subjecting normal cells to the toxin. We are very pleased to have Helix BioPharma as a partner for this program as their conjugation technology and experience with the urease system is an important component for the overall success of the project."
Details and/or financial terms of the collaboration have not been made public.
About the ProMIS Discovery Technology and the Company's Prion Protein
Amorfix's proprietary drug discovery technology, ProMIS, is a computer based algorithm that predicts DSEs based on thermodynamic analysis to identify the protein regions most likely to lose structure under stressed or mildly denaturing conditions. The Company utilizes this technology to identify DSEs which are only expressed on tumour cells and not on normal cells as a way of developing antibodies that only bind and kill tumour cells. Using this technology, Amorfix has the potential to create antibody therapeutics that are more efficacious and have a much better safety profile than current therapeutics.
About Ovarian Cancer
Ovarian cancer forms in tissues of the ovary (one of a pair of female reproductive glands in which the ova, or eggs, are formed). Most ovarian cancers are either ovarian epithelial carcinomas (cancer that begins in the cells on the surface of the ovary) or malignant germ cell tumours (cancer that begins in egg cells). It is estimated that there are approximately 22,000 new cases and 16,000 deaths each year from ovarian cancer in the United States alone. The 5 year survival rate for ovarian cancer is less than 50%.
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd. (TSX:AMF) is a product development company developing therapeutic products and diagnostic devices targeting misfolded protein diseases including Alzheimer's Disease (AD), cancers, and ALS. Amorfix utilizes its computational discovery platform, ProMIS™, to predict novel Disease Specific Epitopes ("DSEs") on the molecular surface of misfolded proteins. Cancer immunotherapies have in the past been directed against targets which are also present on normal cells, whereas Amorfix's innovative ProMIS platform identifies targets present only on cancer cells, retaining efficacy with improved safety. Amorfix's lead programs include therapeutics and companion diagnostics for cancers, antibodies and vaccines to DSEs in ALS and AD diagnostic tests. Amorfix's proprietary Epitope Protection™ technology enables it to specifically identify very low levels of misfolded proteins in a biological sample. The Company's diagnostic programs include an ultrasensitive method for the detection of aggregated beta-Amyloid in brain tissue, CSF and blood from animal models of AD, months prior to observable amyloid formation, and development of a human screening test for AD. For more information about Amorfix, visit www.amorfix.com.
The TSX has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This information release may contain certain forward-looking information. Such information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those implied by statements herein, and therefore these statements should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results. All forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to it as well as other factors. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Due to risks and uncertainties, including the risks and uncertainties identified by the Company in its public securities filings, actual events may differ materially from current expectations. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.For further information:
| Dr. Robert Gundel |
President and Chief Executive Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 847-6957
Fax: (416) 847-6899
| Janet Clennett |
Acting Chief Financial Officer
Amorfix Life Sciences Ltd.
Tel: (416) 847-6926
Fax: (416) 847-6899