Mölndal/Uppsala, Sweden, September 2021: Antaros Medical AB (“Antaros Medical”) and Affibody AB (“Affibody”) have formalised an important collaboration with focus on developing pioneering Positron Emission Tomography (PET) tracers supporting the development of new therapeutic options for inflammation, fibrosis and for the linked area of immunology including immuno oncology. For this purpose, a new company is also formed – Antaros Tracer AB.
Unique PET-tracer solutions based on Affibody® molecules to meet unmet needs
PET tracers have emerged as important biomarkers supporting drug development, due to their ability in understanding both the drug and its target and provide important insights into human biology quantitatively at a receptor level.
The two Swedish companies, Antaros Medical and Affibody have signed a licence agreement to develop novel PET tracers to support drug development decisions. The companies stress the importance of collaboration and partnership for better and faster results. The formation of Antaros Tracer AB is one important step to facilitate this.
The agreement includes the use of a set of Affibody® molecules. Affibody® molecules are a novel class of antibody mimetics with superior characteristics surpassing monoclonal antibodies and antibody fragments.
Johannes Hulthe, CEO Antaros Medical AB comments: “We believe strongly in these kind of collaborations for fast development where everyone brings complementary know-how, technologies and resources. We have strong capabilities to develop and bring new PET-tracers into clinical utility for drug development studies to enhance decision making in the respective projects.”
Antaros Medical has an extensive experience of supporting pharmaceutical companies with insights for drug development decisions and has a set-up for bringing new imaging biomarkers, including novel PET-tracers, into clinical use for drug development. Recently the company developed a set of proprietary PET-tracers targeting the glucagon and Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide (GIP) receptors, also in collaboration. A strong tool set, together with the PET tracer targeting the GLP-1 receptor, to be used in the metabolic drug development field where both bimodal and trimodal incretin-based therapies are progressing fast.
Per Hagmar, CEO Antaros Tracer AB: “I am delighted that we have reached this agreement. And with the new Antaros Tracer company I believe we have a strong platform that will enable us to develop novel PET-tracers, to apply them as powerful biomarkers in drug intervention studies to quantify effect of treatment and, potentially, also to explore their utility as diagnostic tools.“
Initial focus on unmet needs in inflammation, fibrosis and immunology/immuno oncology
Inflammation and fibrosis are both global health problems with limited or no therapeutic options available today. Fibrotic diseases can occur in almost any organ or tissue in the body and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The research activity in this field across the world is high, trying to increase the understanding of the underlying mechanisms and to develop targeted and effective medicines to improve the outcome for patients suffering from those conditions.
Related to the above is the development of medicines using immunotherapies, i.e. medicines enabling the body’s own immune system to treat a disease. Cancer immunotherapy, also known as immuno oncology, is a growing subspeciality under oncology and has been very successful in some cancers. The search for additional immuno oncology therapies for additional cancers is extensive.
Olle Korsgren, Professor, Department of Immunology, Uppsala University, visiting Professor at Department of Medicine, Gothenburg University and one of the founders of Antaros Tracer says: “This is great. We see this as a really important way to accelerate the transfer of important academic research into the clinic to explore the clinical utility and potentially help patients in a number of diseases.”
Olof Eriksson, PET Imaging Director at Antaros Medical, Associate Professor at Uppsala University and one of the founders of Antaros Tracer adds: “We have a long experience of, in collaboration, developing unique tracers in the diabetes area supporting development of emerging therapies, including the glucagon and the GIP-tracers. This collaboration has a true potential to move forward fast and to make a difference for the patients in the end.”
This aim for this collaboration is to fast move more sophisticated PET tracers into clinical use to support the selection and development of drug candidates, especially during early clinical development stages. This will save time and cost and can bring new medicines to patients faster.