ImaginAb and BZL Biologics, LLC conclude licensing agreement for imaging rights to huJ591/Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen
October 1, 2009
Montreal, QC : 1st of October, 2009 — ImaginAb, Inc. and BZL Biologics, LLC have concluded a sublicense of BZL’s PSMA/huJ591 antibody technology for the field of diagnostic imaging with antibodies/antibody fragments for PET and SPECT. The licensing agreement includes both an exclusive sublicense component as well as scope for joint-development and clinical validation of PSMA-based imaging agents based on huJ591. Monoclonal antibodies to the extracellular domain of PSMA, including J591, were originally discovered and developed by a research team led by Dr. Neil H. Bander, the Bernard and Josephine Chaus Professor of Urologic Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
“ImaginAb is pleased to have completed this (sub)licensing agreement with BZL as we believe that huJ591 is a superb humanized antibody that will form the basis of an excellent clinical product for the diagnosis and management of prostate cancer. BZL’s technology has extensive human data, including imaging studies, and we believe that huJ591 in conjunction with our antibody fragment technology will produce excellent imaging agents for PET”, said Dr. Christian Behrenbruch, CEO of ImaginAb. Dr. Robert Reiter, Professor of Urology at UCLA and ImaginAb’s Chief Medical Advisor further elaborated “PSMA is an extremely significant target for prostate cancer and perhaps other solid tumors – we are excited to be validating antibody fragments against this target and plan to translate into the clinic in 2010.”
“Our partnership with ImaginAb for antibody imaging with huJ591 is an important part of developing our PSMA intellectual property, and we believe that the imaging applications of our technology will result in a significant benefit to prostate cancer patient care by improving diagnostic accuracy and disease monitoring. We are also interested in working with ImaginAb to integrate imaging as part of a patient management paradigm for our PSMA-targeted therapeutics”, commented Barry Silverstein, President of BZL Biologics.
ImaginAb’s founding team of scientists, using technology developed at the City of Hope Hospital (Duarte, CA) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA, Los Angeles, CA) have developed a variety of novel imaging radiopharmaceuticals focused on key unmet needs in diagnostic imaging such as prostate, ovarian and pancreatic cancer. ImaginAb also has a strong interest in extending its antibody fragment imaging technology to inflammation and autoimmune diseases.
About BZL Biologics
BZL Biologics LLC is a privately held biotechnology company based in New York. Its lead program is based on antibody (Ab) targeting of PSMA, a unique cancer-related antigen that is present at high levels in all prostate cancers as well as the neo-vasculature of all types of solid tumors. PSMA is functionally completely tumor-specific when targeted by Ab-based agents. This provides an exceptional platform on which to build very potent and exquisitely specific anti-tumor agents. PSMA’s rapid, efficient internalization enables development of highly potent, cancer-specific Ab-drug conjugates. BZL Biologics LLC holds the exclusive license from Cornell University to a world-wide patent portfolio covering antibodies to the extracellular domain of Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA), and which includes antibody-drug conjugates, radiolabeled antibodies, naked antibodies, and related diagnostic and therapeutic methods, as well as key issued patents for the targeting of PSMA expressed on solid tumor neo-vasculature.
BZL's humanized J591 antibody is the most advanced anti-PSMA antibody in clinical development. J591 has been the subject of 11 completed clinical trials involving more than 300 patients with prostate and other solid tumors. Radiolabeled and antibody-drug conjugates of J591 have demonstrated excellent tumor-specific targeting, tolerability and efficacy in phase 1 and 2 trials. The radiolabeled version of J591 has completed a phase 2 trial in castrate-resistant metastatic prostate cancer patients and recently began a large, randomized, multicenter phase 2 trial in castrate-resistant prostate cancer patients with rising PSAs prior to development of metastatic disease, a disease setting that includes an estimated 700,000 American men and where there is no approved therapy.
Founded in 2007 by UCLA Faculty (Dr. Rob Reiter and Dr. Anna Wu), ImaginAb, Inc. is an early-stage biotechnology company specializing in the development of engineered antibody fragments for diagnostic imaging and radioimmunotherapy. The company has a significant pipeline of clinical imaging agents under development oriented towards unmet needs in cancer and immunology. ImaginAb is also developing a range of pre-clinical (animal imaging) reagents for use with microPET and microSPECT systems.