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A German university seeks licensees for a special molecule (aptamer) that targets hormone refractory prostate cancer. The aptamer of the presented invention may be used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. It is easier to produce and less expensive in production than similar applications. The license agreement could include a technical cooperation regarding the generation of aptamer.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. In particular, hormone refractory prostate cancer is not curable and targeted therapies are yet not available. Hormone refractory prostate tumor cells likely metastasize to distal sites accounting for poor prognosis and survival of patients. Thus, means for early diagnosis and treatment of hormone refractory prostate cancer are desperately needed.
A German university now found an aptamer that targets hormone refractory prostate cancer. Aptamers are an emerging class of molecules for developing targeted therapy approaches. They are single chain nucleic acids, folding into well-defined three-dimensional shapes based on which they recognize target structures.
The inventors used an orthotopic xenograft mouse model to perform an in vivo selection in order to identify an aptamer that selectively binds to cells of a hormone refractory prostate tumor. Several rounds of selection starting from a DNA library yielded an aptamer that binds to tumor tissue in vivo and to PC3 cells in vitro. The aptamer is characterized in a PEGylation pattern that stabilizes the aptamer and prolongs plasma half-life. In this particular case, the PEGylation was already present during in vivo selection.
In so-called PEGylation, biopharmaceutical active ingredients or diagnostics are chemically combined with polyethylene glycol.The aptamer of the present invention may be used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. In particular when coupled to a drug, the aptamer may be used in analogy to an antibody-drug-conjugate.
The offer addresses companies from the pharmaceutical or biotechnology sector that are active in the treatment of prostate cancer.The university seeks licensees for this special molecule (aptamer) that targets hormone refractory prostate cancer. The university also offers a technical cooperation to licensees when it comes to the generation of aptamer.
Compared to similar applications, this approach shows a higher affinity and selectivity of the aptamer for the tumor. Aptamers are cheaper and easier to handle than comparable antibodies. Other advantages are:
- Easy to produce
- High plasma half-life
Selective binding of the aptamer to tumor cells and stability of the aptamer have been proven in in vivo and in vitro models.
A European patent application has been filed in January 2019.
The university offers a license agreement that can include technical collaboration. The offer addresses companies from the pharmaceutical or biotechnology sector that are active in the treatment of prostate cancer.
In the case of a license acceptance, the following tasks would be assigned to a potential partner:
a. Development of diagnostic test or
b. Development of an innovative biological agent into a therapeutic drug
The exact tasks of the inventors in the case of an additional technical collaboration would have to be determined first. However, the inventors could contribute their special know-how in the production of aptamers.