Micromet Achieves Milestone In BiTE Research on Cancer
Micromet, Inc. announced the achievement of a milestone in its research collaboration with MedImmune, Inc. for the development of new BiTE molecules targeting carcinoembryonal antigen (CEA), a validated tumor- associated antigen frequently expressed on various human carcinomas.
Preclinical data recently presented at the 2007 Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) showed that CEA-BiTE molecules can prevent subcutaneous tumor growth and formation of lung metastases. Achievement of the preclinical proof-of-concept milestone in the CEA-BiTE program triggers an undisclosed payment from MedImmune to Micromet.
Micromet holds exclusive European rights to the CEA-BiTE program and is eligible for milestones and royalties for all other territories, including the U.S. Under the same agreement, both companies also collaborate on a new BiTE candidate targeting the tyrosine kinase receptor EphA2, which is frequently overexpressed on a wide variety of solid tumors.
"The achievement of this milestone further validates the versatility and power of the BiTE approach to treat various cancers by targeting different tumor antigens," said Patrick Baeuerle, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Micromet. "Following this initial success with the CEA-BiTE program, we are now advancing the second BiTE program through formal development with our partner MedImmune."
BiTE molecules are a novel class of antibody derivatives with the potential to selectively direct and activate an individual's cytotoxic T cells, the body's most potent killer cells, to act against cancer cells. MT103/MEDI-538, a BiTE molecule targeting the B cell antigen CD19, provided clinical proof-of-concept for the BiTE platform technology, as presented at the most recent meeting of the American Society for Hematology. In an ongoing phase 1 study, MT103/MEDI-538 has shown potent elimination of tumor target cells in peripheral blood, bone marrow, lymph nodes and spleen of therapy- refractory non-Hodgkins lymphoma patients.