LEUVEN, April 14, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR), an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines, today announces the foundation of Oncurious NV, a new oncology company that will develop TB-403 for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors. VIB, a leading life sciences institute in Flanders (Belgium), will become a shareholder alongside ThromboGenics in this new oncology venture. ThromboGenics will be the majority shareholder.
TB-403 is a humanized monoclonal antibody against placental growth factor (PlGF). PlGF is expressed in several types of cancer, including medulloblastoma. High expression of the PlGF receptor neuropilin 1 has been shown to correlate with poor overall survival. Medulloblastoma is a rare, life-threatening brain tumor that mainly affects children.
Treatment with TB-403 in relevant animal models for medulloblastoma has demonstrated beneficial effects on tumor growth and survival. The antibody can potentially be used in other pediatric cancer indications, including neuroblastoma.
In February 2013, a paper in Cell (Cell, 152, 1065-76, 2013) highlighted for the first time that PlGF plays a vital role in the brain and that its expression is required for the growth and spread of medulloblastoma. The paper was based on pre-clinical research conducted by Prof Rakesh Jain from the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard (Boston) and the team of Prof Peter Carmeliet from VIB/ KU Leuven.
Oncurious now plans to start a Phase I/IIa program with TB-403 in medulloblastoma patients. Enrollment of the first patient is expected for the end of 2015.
The favorable safety profile of TB-403 has already been demonstrated in clinical trials in patients with other diseases.
Dr Patrik De Haes, CEO of ThromboGenics said, "The formation of Oncurious is an important development for ThromboGenics, which will allow us to even more focus our efforts on achieving our goals in the ophthalmology space. This new venture should also enable an acceleration of the development of TB-403 for the treatment of medulloblastoma, a devastating cancer that affects children and adolescents. I would like to thank VIB for supporting us in this new venture and for providing access to exciting basic research that, in time, will allow Oncurious to build an oncology pipeline."
Johan Cardoen, Managing Director of VIB said," We are excited that we can jointly translate the potential of VIB research by Prof. Peter Carmeliet into a reality for patients. We believe that TB-403 has the potential to greatly improve the treatment of medulloblastoma and a number of other pediatric tumours, an area of great medical need. This collaboration illustrates the value of excellence-driven basic research at VIB and ThromboGenics, and the pro-active approach to "make the difference for patients". We are confident that together with ThromboGenics, we can develop Oncurious into a leading oncology company."
BioInvent International AB will act as a co-development partner for this oncology project.
ThromboGenics has retained the exclusive license for use of TB-403 in ophthalmic indications.
For further information please contact:
Wouter Piepers, Global Head of Corporate Communications & Investor Relations
+32 16 75 13 10 / +32 478 33 56 32
Johan Cardoen, Managing Director VIB
+32 9 244 66 11 / +32 475 98 45 25
ThromboGenics is an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic and oncology medicines. The Company's lead product, JETREA® (ocriplasmin), has been approved by the US FDA for the treatment of symptomatic VMA and was launched in January 2013.
ThromboGenics signed a strategic partnership with Alcon, a division of Novartis, for the commercialization of JETREA® outside the United States.
ThromboGenics is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Iselin, NJ (US) and Dublin, Ireland. The Company is listed on the NYSE Euronext Brussels exchange under the symbol THR. More information is available at www.thrombogenics.com.
VIB is an excellence-driven life sciences research institute in Flanders, Belgium. VIB aims to push the limits of our understanding of molecular mechanisms of life and disease and provides a stimulating environment to its scientists. VIB unites the expertise of 1400 scientists originating from over 60 countries in a single institute. Since its inception VIB is also an entrepreneurial biotechnology catalyst focusing on translating basic scientific breakthroughs into pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial applications. In this context, VIB pro-actively translates biological insights into proof-of-concept stage assets which can be the basis for active partnering with industrial players or the launch of new Venture Capital-backed biotechnology companies. VIB also actively engages in the public debate on biotechnology by developing and disseminating a wide range of science-based information about all aspects of biotechnology. VIB has a close partnership with four Flemish universities - Ghent University, KU Leuven, University of Antwerp, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. More info www.vib.be.
Important information about forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this press release may be considered "forward-looking". Such forward-looking statements are based on current expectations, and, accordingly, entail and are influenced by various risks and uncertainties. The Company therefore cannot provide any assurance that such forward-looking statements will materialize and does not assume an obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or any other reason. Additional information concerning risks and uncertainties affecting the business and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement is contained in the Company's Annual Report.
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