PhotoBiotics has been awarded a Technology Strategy Board Biomedical Catalyst Early Stage award to carry out a two-year preclinical development study on a photo-active ADC for oesophageal cancer using its OptiLink platform.
The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) Biomedical Catalyst funding scheme is the government’s flagship scheme to support its biotechnology industry. The Early Stage award allows companies to take a proven technological concept and apply it in an area that could add value, intellectual property and opportunities for their business. It is a two-stage competitive process where less than third of the applications are funded and some 43 SME-led applications shared an overall pot of $75.9 million for Round 2 of the scheme.
In collaboration with its academic partners at University College London’s National Medical Laser Center (NMLC) and Imperial College London’s dept of chemistry, the PhotoBiotics-led consortium will develop an Antibody-Directed Phototherapy (ADP) approach to treat oesophageal cancer (OA). The U.K. has the highest incidence of OA in the world with an estimated 8,000 new cases diagnosed annually. Of these, 7,600 patients die of their disease. The abysmal U.K. mortality rate, presently the 4th highest among cancers in men, has shown little improvement over the last five years due to a lack of treatment options. An ADP approach is less invasive than surgery, and will allow metastatic local lymph nodes to be treated. PhotoBiotics will produce the photo-active ADC, while Imperial College London will investigate its photophysical properties and the NMLC will test the drug in pioneering OA preclinical models.
Dr. Deonarain, of Photobiotics, said, "This phenomenal award will allow PhotoBiotics to generate some real value from its proprietary antibody, drug and OptiLink conjugation platform in a disease that will benefit from the features of targeted photodynamic therapy. It shows our committed investors that we are progressing toward the clinic with a potentially superior product."
Dr. Lovat, of Imperial College London, said, "This ADP approach meets a vital and growing clinical need in the U.K. for effective personalized OA treatments. We aim to use ADP in an out-patient setting, and for it to be applicable to the majority of patients. The minimally invasive nature of this treatment avoids the significant mortality and morbidity which accompany invasive surgery and chemotherapy."