Novartis expands targeted radioligand therapy pipeline

pharmafile | March 30, 2021 | News story | Manufacturing and Production  

Novartis has announced today that it has obtained exclusive rights to develop therapeutic applications for a library of fibroblast activation protein (FAP) targeting agents, including FAPI-46 and FAPI-74, through an assignment agreement with iTheranostics Inc.

The agreement also includes co-exclusive rights for the development of imaging applications for the FAP assets, which were originally developed at the University of Heidelberg.

Susanne Schaffert PhD, President of Novartis Oncology, said: “We continue to invest in radioligand therapy as one of the four unique platforms of Novartis Oncology. We believe working across multiple approaches is the key to reimagining cancer care.

“FAP is an exciting target and these agents are a great fit with our radioligand therapy pipeline, which we are actively investigating across multiple tumour types. We believe this technology has the potential to transform many patients’ lives.”

FAP is a cell-surface protein expressed at low levels in most normal adult tissues, but over-expressed in common cancers, particularly on cancer-associated fibroblasts that form the tumour stroma, which is essential for growth. High FAP expression on cancer-associated fibroblasts is therefore generally associated with worse prognosis in solid tumours due to promotion of tumorigenesis and progression.

Targeted radioligand therapy is a type of precision medicine combining two key elements: a targeting compound, or ligand, and a radioactive isotope, causing DNA damage that inhibits tumour growth and replication.

These targeted drugs bind to markers or proteins over-expressed by certain tumours, or tumour-associated tissue, such as stroma. Due to the high-affinity of these agents for specific tumour cells or associated tumour tissue, surrounding healthy tissue is consequently less affected.

Kat Jenkins

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