2022-09-14| Partnerships

MD Anderson and Radiopharm Theranostics Team Up to Develop Oncology Therapies

by Reed Slater
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The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center announced it is starting a joint venture with Radiopharm Theranostics, a company specializing in radiopharmaceutical therapies, to develop new cancer therapies. The newly-founded company, Radiopharm Ventures LLC, will couple MD Anderson’s antigen discovery and cancer surfaceome database with Radiopharm Theranostics’s expertise in radiopharmaceutical products. 

Utilizing America’s Largest Cancer Center’s Capabilities

Houston-based MD Anderson is the largest cancer center in the country, with dozens of specialized centers and programs catering to various types of cancers. The institution, founded in 1941, partners with some of pharma’s biggest players, like Artios Pharma, Bayer, and Bristol Myers Squibb, to develop novel cancer therapies.

In its new venture with Radiopharm Theranostics, MD Anderson will lend its knowledge and experience in antigen discovery and molecular imaging technologies to develop radiopharmaceutical products to treat cancer. The companies will initially focus on at least four therapeutic products based on MD Anderson’s intellectual property. 

The lead prospect for Radiopharm Ventures is a humanized immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody developed in David Piwnica-Worms, M.D., Ph.D.’s laboratory at MD Anderson. The IgG antibody targets the tumor-specific antigen, B7-H3, also referred to as CD276. Based on preclinical studies, Piwnica-Worms says B7-H3 is highly expressed in tumors but absent in healthy cells, making it a promising therapeutic target. 

On top of MD Anderson’s antigen discovery expertise, the organization will leverage its knowledge in cancer surfaceome, a repository of proteins only found on the surface of cancer cells. Samir Hanash, M.D., Ph.D., professor of Clinical Cancer Prevention at MD Anderson, has extensive experience with the burgeoning technology and hopes to use that skill in Radiopharm Ventures’ upcoming candidates. 

“The cancer surfaceome holds a wealth of information about antigens restricted to cancer,” Hanash said. “Mining the data, generated at the petabyte level, has uncovered many compelling targets that have not previously been explored, and we are pleased for the opportunity to collaborate with Radiopharm in developing innovative new treatment options for some targets.”

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Radiopharm Theranostics’ Role in the Joint Venture

By delivering small doses of injected radiation to specifically targeted cells, radiopharmaceuticals can treat or diagnose various types of cancer. Radiopharm Theranostics’ specialized knowledge in the field is crucial to Radiopharm Ventures’ future development in new therapeutic areas. 

Radiopharm Theranostics currently has several ongoing clinical trials studying the safety and efficacy of various candidates across a range of cancer types. It is also evaluating numerous preclinical candidates in labs worldwide in the US, UK, and Australia. 

Once MD Anderson specifies new oncology targets with its antigen discovery and cancer surfaceome platforms, Radiopharm Theranostics will jump in during the development process to collaborate with researchers at MD Anderson. Together, Radiopharm Ventures has the opportunity to select additional datasets from the cancer surfaceome dataset to prioritize selection based on unmet needs in oncology. 

MD Anderson and Radiopharm Theranostics’ new joint venture, Radiopharm Ventures LLC, is an exciting development in the oncology space, leveraging MD Anderson’s massive cache of oncology research and knowledge alongside Radiopharm Theranostics’ expertise in radiopharmaceutical therapies. In conjunction, the two companies hope to develop valuable, novel cancer therapies to provide for some of the many unmet needs in oncology. 

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