MOSCOW--()--In early September the investment committee of Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund (“MBVF”), founded with the participation of the Russian Government’s RVC, approved the binding terms and the amount of an investment in a newly established private Russian biotech company, Osteros Biomedica, Ltd, formed for the development and commercialization of drugs for the treatment of cancer-induced bone disease.
Osteros Biomedica, Ltd. (“Osteros Biomedica”), part of the well known Russian biotech holding company, Maxwell Biotech Group, is preparing to conduct a proof-of-concept clinical trial program for its first drug candidate, MBC-11, which was discovered by its US –based partner biotech company, MBC Pharma, Inc. Osteros Biomedica is the first company in MBVF’s portfolio to have licensed the global rights to an innovative drug candidate of international origin.
MBC-11 is a synthetic chemical conjugate of a cytotoxic and a bone targeting agent, designed for the potential treatment of multiple myeloma, osteosarcoma, as well as other metastatic bone lesions. Extensive preclinical studies demonstrated in vivo efficacy of MBC-11 during daily administration after as little as one week’s treatment. Now Osteros Biomedica aims to conduct trials in Russia to test the new drug’s efficacy and safety in humans with multiple myeloma.
Chris Wiltshire, representing Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund, said: “This new business model for the Maxwell Biotech fund that includes acquiring global rights and quickly undertaking proof-of-concept studies in humans is a natural extension of its existing investment strategy. This opportunity fits Maxwell Biotech’s experience well, provides a manageable challenge, and success will now scale-up to global benefits, above all to patients around the world suffering from metastatic bone disease.”
Multiple myeloma is a tumor disease of the blood system, that is closely related to chronic lymphocytic leukemia and originates in bone marrow cells. In addition to the cancer, bone strength is significantly weakened. Metastases in bone tissues often complicate the course of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer and thyroid cancer. These types of cancer account for about 700,000 new cases per year around the world. and more than half of these patients have skeletal complications resulting in great suffering from severe pain, pathologic fractures, and spinal cord compression, as well as requiring considerably more sophisticated and expensive treatment.
MBC-11 is a chemically synthesized, unique conjugate of two molecules: a cytotoxic agent that kills tumor cells and a bisphosphonate providing bone affinity and preventing the destruction of the bone tissue. The potential main advantages of the drug: its high efficacy even at low doses, as well as the possibility of its use in the adjuvant therapy setting.
Alexander Karpeisky, Chief Scientific Adviser to Osteros Biomedica, and President and Chief Scientific Officer of MBC Pharma, Inc. commented: “With more than 10 million new cases every year, cancer has become the most devastating disease worldwide. Approximately 50 to 80% of patients diagnosed with carcinoma will have bone metastases at the time of their death. Unfortunately current hormonal, bisphosphonate or chemotherapy is only palliative. Importantly, conventional chemotherapy is not distributed to the sites of bone lesions in pharmacologically relevant concentrations. All this indicates a huge unmet medical need in drugs which can attack and kill bone-localized tumor cells. We are delighted to establish this collaboration with Osteros Biomedica and Russian scientists, to further develop and clinically test this first-in-class drug, MBC-11, which is capable of delivery of chemotherapy to the sites of metastatic bone destruction.”
Yan Ryazantsev, Director of Investment Department with RVC: “In the West, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals can compete today even with such an attractive investment industry like IT. In Russia, the interest of venture investors in these areas is only beginning to emerge. Despite underdeveloped industrial infrastructure in our country, last year we saw a surge of investments in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Deal with Osteros Biomedica is a good example proving that activities of such a development institute as RVC and its portfolio fund Maxwell Biotech can not only show the potentially high economic benefit, but also promote the development of the industry, leading to the improved quality of life for people with serious diseases.”
About Osteros Biomedica
Osteros Biomedica, Ltd is a private Russian biotech company founded in 2012, and part of the biotech holding company, Maxwell Biotech Group. The Company’s main goal is to develop and commercialize innovative drugs for the treatment of cancer-induced bone disease. The company has the global rights to its first product, MBC-11, which is being developed in collaboration with an a US-based biotech company, MBC Pharma.
About Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund
Maxwell Biotech Venture Fund (MBVF) formed with the participation of Russian Venture Company provides investment capital and access to an established infrastructure for conducting high-quality clinical trials in Russia, and helps enable the rapid and cost-effective achievement of clinical objectives. The fund’s unique business model can add value to our partners’ pipelines and provide a commercialization path to one of the most lucrative emerging markets. MBVF relies on an experienced international team of managers and financial and industry experts and has offices in Moscow and Boston. MBVF is investing in product development companies specializing in specific therapeutic areas or medical devices categories. To date, MBVF has invested in OncoMax (oncology), NeuroMax (CNS), MetaMax (oncology & metabolic diseases), Infectex (infectious diseases), CardioNova (cardiovascular diseases), Hepatera (liver diseases), Osteros Biomedica (cancer induced bone diseases) and Photonics (novel lasers for medicine and dentistry). Products in these companies originated either from Russian scientists or were licensed from international biopharma companies.
RVC is a government fund of funds and a development institute of the Russian Federation; since 2006 it has been one of Russia’s key tools in building its own national innovation economy. RVC invests government capital through VC funds that it creates in partnership with private investors.
RVC has backed 12 funds (including two funds outside Russia) with a total capitalization of RUB 26 billion (about US$860 million), its share amounting to RUB 16 billion (about US$530 million). As of December 2011, RVC-backed funds hold a portfolio of 123 companies, with invested capital totaling RUB 10.4 billion (about US$300 million).
About MBC Pharma, Inc.
MBC Pharma, Inc. is a private pharmaceutical company developing small molecule drugs for critical bone, oncological and viral diseases.