HemoGenyx Pharmaceuticals PLC (LON:HEMO) expects to soon begin talks with a global pharmaceutical company over a possible licensing deal for its CDX antibodies – its flagship treatment for blood cancer.
Last summer, the pair signed an agreement that would see them work together to further develop the antibodies which it is hoped will eliminate the need for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
They work by killing only “unwanted” cells and allow more people who would otherwise be deemed unfit enough to receive a bone marrow transplant.
The development agreement is “progressing well”, with the partner having already produced “suitable antibody”.
“The consequences of these developments in the CDX project are extensive,” read a lengthy update on Monday.
“Hemogenyx may no longer need to spend money and use staff resources to make its own antibodies because the preferred strategy now is to work with its partner which has already made a suitable antibody.
“With the availability of a new patented combination therapy strategy, it is likely that this or potentially other biopharmaceutical companies will decide to in-license CDX.”
Given the progress made to-date, Hemogenyx expects to begin discussions over a potential licensing deal later this month.
A phase I study has long been pencilled in for early this year as well, and the junior biopharma confirmed today it continues to make progress towards the submission of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application, which must be obtained before any in-human trials can start.
Progress with AHC and Hu-PHEC
Elsewhere in its portfolio, Hemogenyx said it is “encouraged” by the interest generated by its new type of humanised mice – Advanced Hematopoietic Chimeras or AHC - and the potential application of these mice in disease modelling and drug discovery.
Tests so far suggest that AHC possess a fully functional human immune system, which the company reckons gives it a “crucial advantage” over other types of humanised mice currently available.
Hemogenyx also has its Human Postnatal Hemogenic Endothelial Cell (Hu-PHEC) based suite of product candidates.
Although the focus has largely been on the CDX antibodies, the company has been working hard to progress Hu-PHEC – a cell replacement product candidate that is being developed to generate cancer-free, patient-matched blood stem cells after transplantation into the patient.
The company is in the process of setting up a Belgium-based subsidiary, Hemogenyx-Cell, which will make it eligible for “significant financial support” from the Belgian government.
It has also signed a collaboration agreement with Nasdaq-listed cell therapy specialist Orgenesis, which is pumping in US$1mln.
“The directors believe that this collaboration is especially important for the company as it has the potential to drastically speed up development of its Hu-PHEC product candidate without reducing progress on other projects.”
Bosses happy with progress
Overall, Hemogenyx said it has made “significant progress” in widening its suite of products and their potential applications.
“The directors believe that investment in the diversification of the company's product suites and their application to additional disease markets de-risks the business and maximizes overall potential shareholder value.
“Overall the board is very pleased with the progress being made, in particular, the unlocking of opportunities for CDX antibodies, as well as the potential value that can be created through the company's new type of humanized mice.”
In late afternoon trading, Hemogenyx shares were 11.9% higher at 2.35p.
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