NEW YORK – ITM Isotope Technologies Munich and Navigo Proteins said on Thursday that they have teamed up to develop a fibroblast activation protein (FAP)-targeted radiopharmaceutical therapy for solid tumors.
For its part of the research collaboration, Halle, Germany-based Navigo will develop a version of its targeted molecules, dubbed Affilin, that specifically binds to FAP, while Munich-based ITM will contribute a radioisotope to pair with the targeted molecule. The partners aim for the two elements to comprise a radionuclide that can deliver a precisely targeted dose of radioactive material to patients' FAP-positive cancer cells.
The firms selected FAP as a target for their therapy due to its preferential expression on cancer cells, especially cancer-associated fibroblasts. According to the companies, FAP is expressed on over 90 percent of breast, lung, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers, and high FAP expression tends to go hand in hand with poor prognosis.
Ideally, the radionuclide that ITM and Navigo will jointly develop will deplete cancer-associated fibroblasts and allow improved immune cell infiltration.
Following candidate selection, ITM will have exclusive rights to further develop the therapy in multiple cancer indications. The agreement also includes a nonexclusive license to use the technology for diagnostic radio-imaging in addition to therapy. The companies didn't disclose the financial terms of their deal.