MNOK 50 subscribed in Lytix Biopharma

Doctor and nurse assessing the treatment of a cancer patient.

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Oslo Cancer Cluster member Lytix Biopharma AS has completed a successful issue that was subscribed shares of over 50 million NOK.

It was signed for in total 71,670 shares at a subscription price of NOK 700 per share. The company will, after the capital increase is registered in the ‘Business Register’, have 207 shareholders. CEO Unni Hjelmaas is delighted with Lytix Biopharma now having secured funding for the implementation of the company’s exciting plans within infection and cancer research through 2014.

“We are pleased with the interest the company has been shown in the challenging capital market”, says the chairman Knut Eidissen.

Lytix Biopharma’s board considers listing the company on the Oslo Stock Exchange, including the optimal time for this, and what type of listing which is most suitable.

Lytix Biopharma includes first patient in cancer study
The company recently started the recruitment of patients in a new clinical study of its cancer drug candidate LTX-315, targeting various kinds of cancerous tumors. The objective of the study is to demonstrate that LTX-315 is safe and activates the patient’s own immune system to kill cancer cells, a treatment called Immunotherapy. Up to 80 patients will be enrolled in the study, which is expected to be completed within 2015.

Lytix Biopharma’s CEO Unni Hjelmaas says, “This is a milestone in the development of the LTX-315. The study will demonstrate if the immunotherapy can be documented in cancer patients. We are pleased that the first patient is recruited at Oslo University Hospital – the Norwegian Radium Hospital”.

This study will include patients with different types of cancerous tumors located just under the skin. Four cancer hospitals in Europe are participating in the study – Oslo University Hospital – the Norwegian Radium Hospital (Norway), Jules Bordet and St. Luc (Belgium) and Guy’s Hospital (UK). The study is approved by the health authorities and ethics committees in the respective countries.

Lytix Biopharma’s cancer drug candidate has the potential to be a novel cancer immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is expected to induce the long-term survival due to the durable immune response. Preclinical data has shown that direct injections of LTX-315 into tumors mobilizes the immune system to kill cancer cells (see the video here) and prevent recurrence of cancer. Immune activation and shrinkage of treated tumors were observed in a first clinical study with LTX-315 in patients.

About Lytix Biopharma
Lytix Biopharma AS develops novel drugs for the treatment of resistant bacterial and fungal infections, as well as first-in-class oncology treatments. The Lytix anti-cancer drug is a mimetic of membrane-active host defence peptides and causes tumor necrosis and release of danger signals leading to an induction of anti-tumour immune responses. Lytix is developing synthetic peptides that take advantage of the characteristics of the innate immune system to produce an entirely new class of cancer therapeutics.

In the issue the following insiders have been allocated shares:
Picasso Kapital AS, controlled by chairman Knut Eidissen, 5760 shares
Steinar Hoeg, Director, 1,200 shares
Unni Hjelmaas, CEO 143 shares

Fazenda Securities has been the advisor and lead facilitator of this issue, and Sparebank1 Market has been co-facilitator.

Photo: Cancer Cell, Gerd Berge, UiT.

Horizon 2020: Major possibilities

Horizon 2020

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Horizon 2020 is the new European Framework Program for Research and Innovation. Oslo Cancer Cluster encourage our members to take a closer look at the possibilities Horizon 2020 represents for funding R&D oncology projects and also taking part in international networks.

Norwegian participation in the EU framework programs has been of critical importance to Norwegian research, enabling Norwegian researchers, research institutions and companies to take part in larger international networks.

The Norwegian Research Council has recently been touring most of Norway hosting information meetings on Horizon 2020. The program will take effect from January 2014 and the budget is of around 70 billion Euros over a seven year period. This is a large increase from the last framework program.


Horizon 2020 incorporates three overall areas of funding – and there is a specific focus on SMEs and also on academic-industry collaboration within the program:

  • Funding for basic research to support curiosity-driven, innovative research and large-scale cooperation on research infrastructure
  • Funding to strengthen industrial leadership and competitiveness with the help of effective industry-oriented funding instruments
  • Funding for research and innovation activities to solve shared societal challenges

Under the topic “Health, demographic change and wellbeing”, there are seven focus areas:
1. Understanding health, ageing & disease
2. Effective health promotion, disease prevention, preparedness and screening
3. Improving diagnosis
4. Innovative treatments and technologies
5. Advancing active and healthy ageing
6. Integrated, sustainable, citizen-centred care
7. Improving health information, data exploitation and providing an evidence base for health policies and regulation

More information may be found here:
The Norwegian Research Council webpage
Draft Work Programs 2014-2015
Newsletter – Program for Health, demographic change and wellbeing

Important deadlines:

  • Horizon 2020 national launch events: October 2013 to January 2014
  • Adoption of work programme and publication of first calls for proposals: December 11 2013
  • Expression of interest: Medio January 2014

 Background material presented by the Research Council on the information meeting in Oslo in November 2013:

Inven2 strike major deal

Inven2 and researchers from Sørlandet Hospital

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Inven2 grants exclusive worldwide license to its epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors patent portfolio to Merck. Researchers and clinicians at Sørlandet Hospital have discovered that the EGFR inhibitors may play a vital role as a pain reliever for so called neuropathic pain. This is a potential novel use of the growth factor inhibitor that up until now have been used in cancer treatment, stagging cancer growth.

Inven2 AS, the entity commercializing early stage inventions from the largest University and Hospitals in Norway, announced on November 22 2013, that an exclusive worldwide license agreement was signed with Merck for its patent portfolio related to a potential novel use of EGFR inhibitors in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

“We are encouraged with the progress of our ongoing exploratory clinical trials and are excited about further investigating EGFR inhibitors for this use,” says investigator Dr. Christian Kersten at Sørlandet Hospital.

 

One of Norways largest biotech deals
Under the agreement, Inven2 will get an upfront payment from Merck, and potentially receive a total of € 100 million in development milestones depending on the number of EGFR inhibitors being launched. In addition, Merck will pay Inven2 tiered royalties on net worldwide sales. In exchange, Merck will gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the portfolio. This means that this is one of the largest biotech deals ever made in Norway at this point.

“We believe that Merck is an ideal partner for us as they are clearly committed to take the lead position in the EGFR inhibitor drug class segment, and they have a profound knowledge of this area. This agreement validates the high potential the drug class has in new indications driven by their high unmet medical need,” said Ole Kristian Hjelstuen, CEO of Inven2

 

About Inven2 – Oslo Technology Transfer
Inven2 is the technology transfer office for the University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospitals and all hospitals in the South-East region of Norway. Inven2’s mission is to turn excellent science into products mainly in the field of life sciences.

The various institutions together, disclose around 200 unique inventions annually. In 2013, Inven2 is on plan to deliver 60 new patent filings, 35 license agreements, and 5 start-up companies. As of today Inven2 has a portfolio of 27 technology start-ups and a range of licensing agreements with the discovery of the biomarker NT-proBNP (Elecsys “Roche”) as the biggest commercial success at present.

Inven2’s other business area is clinical contract partnerships with the Oslo University Hospital and South-Eastern Health Municipal.

For more information, please visit www.inven2.com

Photo: The team of doctors at Sørlandet Hospital that have discovered the novel use of EGFR inhibitors, together with the life science team from Inven2 securing the deal with Merck.

 

Bayer with marketing approval in EU for Algeta-developed drug

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Algeta and Bayer have received marketing authorisation from the European Commission for Xofigo® for the treatment of prostate cancer patients with  bone metastases.

The marketing authorization provides approval for the commercialization of Xofigo in all 28 countries of the EU, and in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein following national approval. This decision follows a positive recommendation from the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) in September of this year.

Major milestone for Algeta

Andrew Kay, Algeta’s President & CEO, said: “Today’s decision by the European Commission to approve Xofigo in the EU is another major milestone achieved for Algeta. It marks the start of what we hope will become an important royalty stream based on Bayer’s ex-US sales, in addition to the 50% share of the profits we expect to receive from the co-promotion of Xofigo in the US. Our partnership with Bayer is proving to be very productive and we are delighted with the progress being made.”

“Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men, and often spreads to the bones,” said Christopher Parker, MD, Principal Investigator of the ALSYMPCA trial and Consultant Clinical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, and Honorary Reader in Prostate Oncology at The Institute of Cancer Research, London.

“Bone metastases lead to pain, fracture and other complications that can significantly impair the patient’s health and well-being. Xofigo targets bone metastases, delivering a localized effect to offer patients prolonged survival, making it an exciting advance in the treatment of this cancer.”

About Xofigo® (radium Ra 223 dichloride)
Xofigo® is an alpha particle-emitting pharmaceutical. Xofigo’s active moiety mimics calcium and selectively targets bone, specifically areas of bone metastases, by forming complexes with the bone mineral hydroxyapatite. The high linear energy transfer of alpha emitters (80 keV/micrometer) leads to a high frequency of double-strand DNA breaks in adjacent tumour cells, resulting in a potent cytotoxic effect.

Additional effects on the tumour microenvironment including osteoblasts and osteoclasts also contribute to the in vivo efficacy. The alpha particle range from Xofigo is less than 100 micrometers (less than 10 cell diameters), which minimizes damage to the surrounding normal tissue.

Xofigo is approved in the US for the treatment of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, symptomatic bone metastases and no known visceral metastatic disease.

In September 2009, Algeta signed an agreement with Bayer for the development and commercialization of radium-223. Under the terms of this agreement, Bayer will develop, apply for health authority approvals worldwide and commercialize Xofigo globally. Algeta is eligible for royalties and milestones based on Bayer’s sales of Xofigo outside the US, and Algeta US, LLC is co-promoting Xofigo with Bayer in the US.

About Algeta

Algeta is a company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing novel targeted therapies for patients with cancer. The Company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and has a US subsidiary, Algeta US, LLC, based in Cambridge, MA performing commercial marketing operations in the US. Algeta is listed on the Oslo Stock
Exchange (Ticker: ALGETA). For more information please visit www.algeta.com.