Global biotech Roche and Areva Med, a subsidiary Areva specializing in the development of new therapies to fight cancer, have entered into a strategic collaboration to create a novel, advanced alpha radio-immunotherapy platform to target and kill cancer cells. The agreement will focus on malignant disease with a high unmet medical need.
Roche's pharma research and early development organization and Areva Med will assess the efficacy of combining Roche-engineered antibodies with Areva Med's radionuclide, Lead-212, a compound that shows promise in treating some types of cancer. Roche retains exclusive rights to commercialize the cancer radio-immunotherapy after clinical development. The alliance combines Roche's expertise in engineered antibodies with Areva Med's proficiency in developing radioactive isotopes.
"By using new approaches, such as alpha radio-immunotherapy, we hope to be able to efficiently target and kill cancer cells while sparing the surrounding tissue, which is critical in the treatment process," said Mike Burgess, acting global head, pharma research and early development, Roche. "Areva Med's unique technology, paired with our advanced cancer-targeting biologics, puts us in an excellent position to achieve this goal and bring hope to many cancer patients suffering from this devastating disease."
Alpha radio-immunotherapy is a novel cancer treatment with several advantages over conventional radiotherapy. Compared to other types of radiation, alpha radiation travels only short distances in human tissue, so its energy is absorbed in a smaller area for improved cell death while minimizing damage to healthy tissue. Therefore, by targeting cancer cells with highly specific antibodies combined with Lead-212, there is an opportunity to more precisely irradiate and kill cancerous cells.