Therapeutic development of cancer cell-specific targeting of novel tumor-selective lethal miRNAs for the treatment of head and neck cancer – acronym: MiRacle
Nijmegen/Utrecht and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, November 4, 2013 / B3C newswire / - InteRNA Technologies B.V., the Dutch biopharma company engaged in the development of microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics for oncology, and VU University Medical Center (VUmc) announce today they have been granted funding from the European Union’s FP7program “Research for the benefit of SMEs”. InteRNA and VUmc, who are leading this consortium, together with Quiet Therapeutics Ltd (Israel), a biopharma SME engaged in the development of a new class of highly selective targeted therapeutics for oncology and inflammation, have been granted around € 1.2 million, to develop the targeted delivery of novel tumor-selective lethal miRNAs for the treatment of head and neck cancer. The consortium further includes BioSpring (Germany), OctoPlus (the Netherlands) and the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology LPT (Germany).
MiRacle focuses on the development of a targeted therapeutic formulation for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Head and neck (H&N) cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and the incidence increases. Unfortunately the majority of H&N cancer patients present with advanced stages of disease. These patients frequently develop locoregional recurrences, distant metastasis and/or second primary tumors resulting in 5-years survival rates of less than 60% The development of novel anti-cancer agents to improve outcome is therefore urgently awaited.
The goal of MiRacle is the advancement of the safe, targeted delivery of therapeutic tumor-selective lethal miRNA formulation towards the clinic by combining two innovative technologies, i.e. application of therapeutic miRNAs using cancer cell-specific targeted drug delivery.
Besides the expertise on the therapeutic application of miRNA and the in depth knowledge of the therapeutic indication, e.g. H&N cancer, the MiRacle consortium brings together the knowledge on the synthesis of biochemical active miRNAs, the expertise in drug formulation to specifically deliver therapeutic miRNA into humans, the understanding for synthesis of complex drug formulations, the preclinical testing, and the skillfulness in toxicity tests that are required for RNA based drug registration.
“The unique tumor-selective lethal miRNAs identified display a very interesting biology and potential therapeutic effect that warrants further development towards the clinic. This FP7 grant exemplifies that with this consortium we have all the expertise in place to bring a tumor killing miRNA in a targeted and safe manner towards registration for first in human testing”, said Roel Schaapveld, Chief Executive Officer of InteRNA Technologies.
“This FP7 grant enables the next step in the translation of the tumor-selective lethal microRNAs that we discovered” said Ruud Brakenhof, Professor of Cancer Genetics, Tumor Biology Section at the Department of Otolaryngology/Head-Neck Surgery of VUmc.
About InteRNA Technologies B.V.
InteRNA Technologies develops cancer therapeutics based on a broadly applicable proprietary technology platform for the rapid identification and validation of therapeutic miRNAs. The Company has exclusive access to one of the largest miRNA libraries in the world. At present, InteRNA has established in vivo proof of concept for multiple pipeline candidates. The Company is pursuing a proactive partnership strategy to acquire appropriate delivery technologies for its products and expects to engage in corporate partnerships to progress several of its products into clinical development.
InteRNA Technologies was incorporated in December 2006 by Aglaia Oncology Fund as a spin-off from the Hubrecht Institute, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is the embodiment of distinctive patient care, excellence in higher education, and ground-breaking research. The research of VUmc is dedicated to five focus areas: cancer & immunology, neurosciences, cardiovascular disease, public health, primary care & long-term care and movement sciences. Our research is part of the VU campus Human Health & Life Sciences theme, and organized in five multidisciplinary research institutes. One of these research institutes is VUmc-Cancer Center Amsterdam, and the research of the Dept Otolaryngology/Head-Neck Surgery focused on the improvement of diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of head and neck cancer patients, is embedded in this research institute.
About Quiet Therapeutics
Quiet Therapeutics is a product oriented biopharma company located in Israel that is developing a new class of highly selective targeted therapeutics called Gagomers. We are developing a pipeline of Gagomer formulated products utilizing small molecules or RNAi therapeutics with broad applications in oncology and inflammation. With our novel platform, we are uniquely positioned to allow for the improvement of performance, indication expansion or life cycle extensions of currently available products.
BioSpring is an independent and technology-based company located in Frankfurt a.M., Germany, providing manufacturing as well as analytical services to the pharma and biotech industry.
For more than 16 years, BioSpring has been providing oligonucleotides in smaller as well as larger scales for therapeutic (cGMP certified), diagnostic (ISO13485 certified) and research purposes as well as related analytical services for oligonucleotides in a broad range.
OctoPlus, a subsidiary of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd., is a leading service provider for the development and GMP manufacturing of injectable drug product formulations. OctoPlus builds on 18 years of experience in the field of injectable drug delivery for small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acid derived compounds.
With our team of highly dedicated scientists, engineers and GMP experts we develop and manufacture any type of injectable formulation, ranging from controlled release microspheres, liposomes and highly concentrated protein formulations to the more standard formulations, both freeze dried and liquid.
Follow OctoPlus on LinkedIn or check www.octoplus.nl for more information.
LPT is one of Germany’s leading GLP-accredited toxicology laboratories providing testing and consulting services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical and agrochemical sectors. LPT’s strengths are in the areas of regulatory pre-clinical toxicology studies and safety assessment of chemicals. Studies are conducted in compliance with international guidelines and can be custom designed to meet clients’ regulatory needs.
Roel Schaapveld, PhD, MBA
InteRNA Technologies B.V.
Nijmegen City Centre
6534 AB Nijmegen
Phone: +31 (0)24 352 96 33 / +31 (0)30 2532386