BioMoti, Pharmidex and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have been awarded a grant of £662,222 by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. The grant was awarded under the Biomedical Catalyst funding competition to support preclinical studies of new therapeutic approaches for hard to treat tumours including advanced ovarian, triple negative breast and pancreatic cancers. The project is co-funded by a further £226,769 investment from the industrial partners BioMoti and Pharmidex.
The project focuses on BioMoti’s innovative approach, Oncojan™, a sustained release precision therapeutics platform targeting CD95L mediated tumour immune evasion. Pharmidex’s knowledge of preclinical drug development and QMUL’s Pathology expertise in mechanisms of disease complete the project consortium. This two-year program will investigate precision delivery of drugs to solid tumour sites and immune system activation due to CD95L targeting on tumours.
CD95L is a surface ligand that is selectively and heavily overexpressed in tumour vasculature and cancer cells but not healthy tissues. CD95L promotes tumour immune evasion, cancer cell proliferation and metastasis. It is an essential gene for cancer survival and promotes cancer stem cells. High levels of CD95L expression in patient tumours are associated with increased malignancy and poor prognosis. Oncojans™ are a new class of therapeutic particles that target and gain entry to the tumour vasculature and cancer cells. Once inside CD95L+ve tumour cells, Oncojans™ slowly release therapeutic drugs at the point of need whilst sparing healthy tissue.
Dr Davidson Ateh, CEO of BioMoti, said: ‘Precise oncology drugs and especially those that can activate the immune system are rapidly emerging with major clinical trial successes registered for both antibody and cell-based approaches such as Merck’s Keytruda® or Novartis’s Kymriah™. It is exciting for us to be supported by Innovate UK to explore our platform’s interactions with the immune system following promising efficacy data in cancer models. BioMoti is making great progress on a final seed investment round to support commercialisation and we welcome enquiries from qualified investors.’
Dr Chris Ireson, Head of Oncology at Pharmidex, said: ‘We are very pleased to join BioMoti and QMUL in the preclinical development of the Oncojan™ platform. This Innovate UK funded project is an exciting approach to cancer therapy that could have a significant impact on patient lives.’
Dr Mohammad Alavijeh, CEO of Pharmidex, said: ‘Partnering on this Biomedical Catalyst award is a great achievement for the Pharmidex oncology research team. This recently established group adds to our well established expertise in ADMET, PK, bioanalysis and CNS.’
Professor Joanne Martin, Professor of Pathology at QMUL, added: ‘Oncojans™ were first developed in my laboratory here at Queen Mary University of London with support from the BBSRC, Heptagon Fund and Barts and The London Charity. We are passionate about what a difference we could make for patients, and it is great to have secured Innovate UK funding.’
For further information, please contact:
Dr Davidson Ateh
Notes to editors:
BioMoti exists to transform the lives of cancer patients by doing things differently. We seek to transform the treatment of cancer by targeted delivery of therapeutics to the intracellular space of cancer cells; aiming to dramatically increase efficacy whilst reducing side effects. Oncojans™ are a new class of therapeutic microparticles that target and gain entry to the interior of cancer cells where they slowly release drugs at the point of need whilst sparing healthy tissue. The Oncojan™ platform is compatible with a range of drug classes from small molecule therapeutics to larger biologicals. BMT101 is BioMoti’s lead Oncojan™ based ovarian cancer candidate that has shown very promising potential in early preclinical studies.
For further information visit: www.biomoti.com
Pharmidex Pharmaceutical Services Limited
Pharmidex is a contract research organisation in medicines research and specialises in predicting and assessing ADMET properties of drugs. Pharmidex has significant expertise and resources in all aspects of preclinical development up to GLP toxicology. We provide a potent blend of experience and expertise in biology and drug discovery through a strong team of PhD qualified staff with hands-on experience. Pharmidex has a global list of clients that includes major pharma, biotechs, governmental institutes, universities and medical charities based in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia. Pharmidex has extensive experience and success in grant funded research collaborations (Innovate UK, EU FP and others).
For further information visit: www.pharmidex.com
Queen Mary University of London
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is one of the UK’s leading universities with 23,120 students representing more than 160 nationalities.
A member of the Russell Group, we work across the humanities and social sciences, medicine and dentistry, and science and engineering, with inspirational teaching directly informed by our research. In the most recent national assessment of the quality of research, we were placed ninth in the UK amongst multi-faculty universities (Research Excellence Framework 2014).
As well as our main site at Mile End – which is home to one of the largest self-contained residential campuses in London – we have campuses at Whitechapel, Charterhouse Square, and West Smithfield dedicated to the study of medicine and dentistry, and a base for legal studies at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
Queen Mary began life as the People’s Palace, a Victorian philanthropic project designed to bring culture, recreation and education to the people of the East End. We also have roots in Westfield College, one of the first colleges to provide higher education to women; St Bartholomew’s Hospital, one of the first public hospitals in Europe; and The London, one of England’s first medical schools.
Today, as well as retaining these close connections to our local community, we are known for our international collaborations in both teaching and research. QMUL has an income of £400m and a research income worth £137m (2015/16) and generates employment and output worth in excess of £700m to the UK economy each year.
For further information visit: www.qmul.ac.uk
Innovate UK helps businesses to identify the commercial potential in new technologies and turn them into the new products and services that will generate economic growth and increase productivity.
For further information and to stay updated on our latest news visit www.gov.uk/innovateuk, follow us on Twitter at @innovateuk or subscribe to our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/InnovateUK.