Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited Acquires TheraPharm GmbH, Broadening Reach to Hematologic Cancers and Transplant Medicine

MELBOURNE, Australia and BAAR, Switzerland, Nov. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: TLX, ‘Telix’, the ‘Company’) announces it has entered into an agreement with Scintec Diagnostics GmbH (‘Scintec’) to acquire TheraPharm GmbH (‘TheraPharm’), a Swiss-German biotechnology company developing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic solutions in the field of hematology.

The acquisition of TheraPharm provides Telix with access to a portfolio of patents, technologies, production systems, clinical data and know-how in relation to the use of Molecularly Targeted Radiation (MTR) in hematology and immunology. TheraPharm is developing antibody MTR technology against CD66, a cell surface target highly expressed by neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes. As such, the technology has potentially very broad applications in the diagnosis and treatment of hematologic diseases (e.g. blood cancers), lymphoproliferative disorders and immune-mediated diseases (e.g. lupus, and multiple sclerosis). Of particular interest is the demonstrated use of the technology to safely and effectively perform bone marrow conditioning (BMC) prior to bone marrow stem cell transplant.

Telix CEO, Dr. Christian Behrenbruch stated, “Telix is committed to extending and improving the lives of patients with serious diseases. As such, the acquisition of TheraPharm and its MTR assets are uniquely aligned to Telix’s mission and technical strengths in antibody engineering and radiochemistry. TheraPharm’s technology has a significant role to play in BMC and stem cell transplantation across a broad range of blood cancers and rare diseases. The current approach to BMC employs highly toxic drugs that have a poor morbidity and mortality profile, and for which many patients are ineligible. MTR offers an excellent safety profile that may greatly expand the number of patients able to undergo life prolonging stem cell transplantation while greatly reducing the hospitalisation burden and cost associated with such procedures.”

TheraPharm co-founder and Managing Director, Dr. Klaus Bosslet added, “Over the past 5 years, TheraPharm, in collaboration with Dr. Kim Orchard from the University of Southampton (UK), has made excellent progress developing 90Y-besilesomab for the treatment of hematologic cancers and several related conditions including multiple myeloma, leukemia and amyloidosis. This unique asset is a logical addition to Telix’s portfolio, offering a potentially rapid development path to a first commercial indication for the treatment of patients with SALA, while at the same time having potentially broad applications for stem cell transplantation in patients with more common cancers of the blood, including multiple myeloma and leukemia. We look forward to joining the Telix team in order to expedite the development of products for this under-served field.”

Full transaction details, including financial terms, can be found via the Telix website and ASX portal here.

About Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant (HSCT)

Bone marrow conditioning (BMC) followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is presently performed to treat patients with hematologic malignancies (blood cancers), with the objective of extending patient survival or achieving cure. HSCT is also performed for a broad range of non-cancer conditions. HSCT is preferentially performed in countries of high income (Europe >30,000, Americas >20,000, worldwide >65,000 p.a., respectively)

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Dr Michael Korn Discusses Precision Medicine Progress in Various Cancers

There are certain diseases, like lung cancer, that are leading the way in precision medicine and where broad molecular testing is recommended, said W. Michael Korn, MD, of University of California, San Francisco, and Caris Life Sciences.

There are certain diseases, like lung cancer, that are leading the way in precision medicine and where broad molecular testing is recommended, said W. Michael Korn, MD, professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, and chief medical officer of Caris Life Sciences.


Are there certain cancers where we’ve made more progress using precision medicine to make treatment decisions compared with other cancers?

Absolutely. I think what has turned out is there are certain clinical scenarios and diseases where there is lots of opportunity, lots of already existing data and those areas pave the road, I think for, you know, other disease settings that are following. And the best example is really lung cancer, where—first of all, it is one of the most frequent cancer types, affecting over 200,000 people in the United States every year—but we have learned a lot about the molecular features of this disease. And so, we’re not looking at lung cancer as one disease anymore. We’re looking at segments of the disease that have all the different types of treatments associated with them. And this has become standard now. The NCCN [National Comprehensive Cancer Network] guidelines recommend broad molecular testing for lung cancer, because of that complexity, and we know that this improves outcomes.

Other diseases are following. Like, I’ll give you an example: breast cancer, colorectal cancer are other big disease groups where this is following. So, we will see a kind of steady development until, in my opinion, it becomes standard to test every cancer being diagnosed right up front when the patient presents himself, at least in the advanced disease setting, to the oncologist.

Have we made more progress in solid tumors compared with liquid tumors?

These are kind of somewhat different worlds. There has been clearly tremendous progress on the side of solid tumor, kind of molecularly guided therapy. I think the hematologic world is following, but it depends very much on what aspect of hematology you’re looking at. So, certainly, in diseases like AML [acute myeloid leukemia], recurrent AML, we are still looking for a similar approach. Whereas in others, in lymphomas and so on, there might be already very established linkage between certain molecular findings and treatments.

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Albert Einstein College of Medicine researchers receive $5 million NIH grant to study HIV and HPV cancers in Africa


IMAGE: Kathryn Anastos, M.D.
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Credit: Albert Einstein College of Medicine

November 13, 2020–(BRONX, NY)–A team of scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine has received a five-year, $4.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish a research center to investigate HIV- and human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers in Africa.

The HIV-Associated HPV-related Malignancies Research Center will build on Einstein-led efforts that have already improved research, clinical, and laboratory capacity in Rwanda. More than 200,000 people in Rwanda have HIV, and women have a higher burden of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, cervical cancer, which is caused by HPV and which women with HIV are at greater risk of developing, is one of the two most common malignancies among Rwandan women. HPV is also linked to the development of anal, penile, and head and neck cancers.

The grant will enable Einstein researchers and their partners to expand the Rwandan programs and launch similar initiatives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). These efforts will help improve health outcomes for millions of Africans living with HIV whose incidence of diseases, including cancer, is increasing as they live longer due to effective HIV therapies.

“We aim to develop a cadre of Rwandan and DRC scientific leaders and build the necessary physical and administrative infrastructure to launch and sustain this project,” said Kathryn Anastos, M.D., lead investigator on the grant and a member of the Albert Einstein Cancer Center, which has supported previous work in Rwanda, including efforts to bring Rwandans to the United States to train.

“Our new NIH-funded center in Africa will serve as a national and regional resource hub for research, training, and career development for those studying the epidemiology, pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of HPV-associated malignancies in people living with HIV,” added Dr. Anastos, who is professor of medicine, of epidemiology & population health, and of obstetrics & gynecology and women’s health at Einstein and an internist at Montefiore Health System.

Dr. Anastos is recognized internationally for her clinical and investigative work in HIV-infected women, and she has long been involved in leading complex multi-faceted research projects in the United States and Rwanda. Other principal investigators on the grant are Adebola Adedimeji, Ph.D., M.B.A., research associate professor of epidemiology & population heath, and Marcel Yotebieng, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine, both from Einstein, and Leon Mutesa, M.D., Ph.D., professor of human genetics and director of the Center for Human Genetics at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences-University of Rwanda. The Einstein team includes more than a dozen other faculty members from a range of departments and specialties, including several from the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. They will partner with three African institutions: University of Rwanda, Rwanda Military Hospital, and Université Protestante au Congo.

The grant will support two research projects. One is the first population-based assessment of the effectiveness of HPV vaccination in women living with HIV. The study also will compare the HPV

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Blood test may identify pancreatic cancers that will respond to treatment, researchers say

Oct. 22 (UPI) — Researchers have developed a simple blood test to identify pancreatic cancers that are more likely to respond to treatment than others, according to a paper published Thursday by Clinical Cancer Research.

The test detects and measures the levels of a sugar called sTRA, which is produced by some types of pancreatic cancer and escapes into the bloodstream. Pancreatic cancers that produce sTRA often do not respond to chemotherapy, the researchers said.

Testing prostate cancer patients for sTRA one day could guide treatment decisions, sparing patients with untreatable cancers from undergoing unnecessary therapies and experiencing potential side effects.

“Knowing which type of pancreatic cancer a person has is critical to implementing the right treatment strategy for each patient,” one of the researchers, Brian Haab, said in a statement.

“We hope that our new test, which detects a marker produced by cancer cells of one subtype and not the other, will one day soon be a powerful tool to help physicians and patients make the best decisions possible,” said Haab, a professor at the Van Andel Institute in Michigan.

About 60,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually and nearly 50,000 people die from it each year, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Pancreatic cancers are among the most challenging malignancies to treat, due in part to their ability to evade detection until they have advanced and spread.

No reliable way exists to determine whether a patient has a type of pancreatic cancer that will respond to existing chemotherapies, and the result often is a blanket treatment approach that works in some patients but can leave all with troubling side effects.

The new sTRA test evolved from an earlier test that combined an existing diagnostic approach designed to detect a sugar called CA19-9 with a new one that detected sTRA.

The combination approach detected nearly 70% of pancreatic cancers with a less than 5% false-positive rate — roughly 30% more than the CA19-9 alone, the researchers said.

Both the combination test and the new sTRA test still need to undergo further clinical studies to confirm their accuracy, they said.

“The … combination test tells us whether there is cancer, and the new sTRA test helps us determine what kind of pancreatic cancer, which then could allow physicians to better narrow down the appropriate treatment plan,” Haab said.

“When used in sequence, we believe the combination test and the new sTRA test could help catch and identify pancreatic cancer more quickly and definitively,” he said.

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More Prostate Cancers Are Being Diagnosed at a Later Stage | Health News

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter


FRIDAY, Oct. 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — While men can take solace in a new government report that shows prostate cancer cases have been declining overall in the past two decades, the same analysis finds that the opposite is true for advanced prostate cancer cases.

In fact, the number of cases of cancer that had already spread from the prostate to other parts of the body doubled between 2003 and 2017, going from 4% to 8%, according to researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Understanding who gets prostate cancer and what the survival numbers are like could be important for men making prostate cancer screening decisions, providers discussing these decisions with their patients, and for informing recommendations for prostate cancer screening,” said lead researcher Dr. David Siegel, from CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Why the spike in advanced prostate cancers? Dr. Anthony D’Amico, a professor of radiation oncology at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said the increase was an inevitable consequence of a 2012 recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force against the routine use of prostate cancer screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

“We realized in 2012, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said to stop PSA screening, we would expect that somewhere around 2018 to 2019 that cancer death rates would start to go up, and that about two to three years prior to that, around 2015 to 2016, we would expect to see distant metastases [cancer that has spread] go up because they preceded death by a couple of years,” he explained.

That’s exactly what this report found, D’Amico noted.

“That trend will continue because the reversal of the recommendation against PSA screening didn’t happen until [2018], so it’s going to be a couple of years from now before we start to see a plateauing and eventually a decrease in distant disease,” he said. “We should have PSA brought back.”

While D’Amico said he believes that men should have their PSA level tested, whether an elevated PSA leads to further diagnosis or treatment should be based on a conversation between a man and his urologist.

“We’re diagnosing less low-risk cases now, but there’s no problem from my perspective in bringing the PSA back, so that the patients with low-risk cancer can have the discussion whether they want treatment or not, knowing what the side effects are, and the patients who need to be cured can be cured,” D’Amico said.

Men are getting more metastatic disease and dying, he said. “But because of the reversal of PSA screening, it should come back to where it was, and the only difference is now we’re smarter about who to treat and who not to treat,” D’Amico said.

The CDC study also delved into racial differences for prostate cancer survival. The researchers found that five-year survival was highest among Asian/Pacific Islanders (42%), followed by Hispanics (37%), American Indian/Alaska Natives (32%), Black men (32%), and white men

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