VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) and the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) announced that Champions Oncology, Inc., a public US company engaged in the development of advanced technology solutions to personalize the development and use of oncology drugs, has exercised an option to license Irinophore C™, a liposomal formulation of Irinotecan. This transaction represents the second successful licensing agreement of a technology jointly developed between a CDRD-affiliated institution and CDRD, and the first between BCCA and CDRD.
Irinophore C™ is a lipid-based nanoparticle made by efficiently loading the irinotecan payload into its interior core using a novel and proprietary method developed by BCCA researchers. The compound is currently completing preclinical development and is due to enter phase I clinical study as a single agent in patients having advanced solid tumors in Q4 2011. The CDRD collaboration completed critical activities toward demonstrating the technology’s clinical benefit including demonstrating that Irinophore C™ can significantly reduce the clinical dose‐limiting gastrointestinal toxicity associated with Camptosar®.
Champions has tested the activity of Irinophore C™ using its TumorgraftTM translational technology platform. The results confirmed significant efficacy and safety advantages for Irinophore C™ as compared to the approved drug Camptosar® on various tumor types.
“The support provided by CDRD enabled important toxicology tests for this new formulation which have all gone very well to date. With this support we were able to bring Irinophore CTM to the point where it is today,” said Dr. Patrick Rebstein, Associate Director, Technology Development Office, Provincial Health Services Authority.
“CDRD played a key role in taking this technology from our initial experiments through demonstration of efficacy, safety, and amelioration of a critical side effect of the current standard-of-care treatment for colorectal cancer. This data was key to getting this to a state where it would give clinicians the confidence to move this into formal development,” said Dr. Marcel Bally, Head, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, BCCA. “Furthermore, without the results of the CDRD project, it is uncertain if we would have found a commercial pathway as quickly as we did through Champions,” added Dr. Bally.
“This licensing agreement further validates the successful collaboration model at CDRD, where we can provide drug development knowledge, technical infrastructure, commercialization expertise, and funding for researchers across Canada so they can carry out critical experiments to further advance their discoveries into new therapeutics,” said Natalie Dakers, CEO, CDRD. “CDRD is delighted to have played an important part in enabling a commercialization pathway for this technology through a licensing agreement with Champions,” added Ms. Dakers. The project received funding support from CDRD through the “Pfizer-CDRD Innovation Fund,” which was created to fast-track the commercialization of academic research projects into high-value medicines.
About the BC Cancer Agency
The BC Cancer Agency, an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, is committed to reducing the incidence of cancer, reducing the mortality from cancer, and improving the quality of life of those living with cancer. It provides a comprehensive cancer control program for the people of British Columbia by working with community partners to deliver a range of oncology services, including prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment, research, education, supportive care, rehabilitation and palliative care. Visit www.bccancer.ca for more information. The BC Cancer Foundation (www.bccancerfoundation.com) raises funds to support research and enhancements to patient care at the BC Cancer Agency.
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) (www.cdrd.ca) provides drug development expertise and infrastructure to enable researchers from leading academic and health research institutions to advance promising, early-stage drug candidates. CDRD combines its drug development platform with a commercial arm, which licenses technologies from affiliated institutions and establishes working collaborations with other biotech and life sciences companies. The Government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence program has recognized CDRD as a Centre of Excellence in Commercialization in Research (CECR).