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Eisai subsidiary in tie up for prostate cancer antibodies

Eisai subsidiary Morphotek signs a R&D agreement with the National Cancer Institute for the development of therapeutic antibodies to a cancer-associated protein

Morphotek, a subsidiary of Eisai, has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for the development of therapeutic antibodies to a cancer-associated protein identified by NCI researchers.

Morphotek will apply its proprietary Morphodoma antibody technology to the development of novel therapeutic antibodies for use in the treatment of prostate cancer.

During a long-term research programme into tumour cell biology, NCI researchers discovered several proteins whose expression is prostate-specific. One of these proteins, referred to as ProCa-1, is a gene product that is expressed on the cell surface in normal prostate and prostate cancer cells, but not in other tissues tested.

The gene is expressed in a majority of prostate tumours tested. As part of this CRADA, Morphotek will apply its antibody discovery technology to the development of monoclonal antibodies (mABs) that can bind the ProCa-1 protein and test lead mABs for anti-cancer properties in collaboration with NCI researchers.

Therapeutic leads that show good target binding and tumour specificity will be candidates for possible advancement to preclinical and clinical evaluation.

The NCI will provide its expertise in evaluating the lead antibodies for therapeutic efficacy.

The agreement between NCI and Morphotek is part of an existing collaborative relationship with NCI to develop novel therapies for the treatment of various cancer types.

9th January 2008

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