Medical Prognosis Institute (MPI) announced it will enter a three-year licensing agreement with Oncology Venture Sweden (OV) to license its drug response prediction (DRP) technology, to identify tumor-derived genetic signatures related to the development of personalized cancer thereapy.
Under the terms of the deal, MPI grants OV exclusive worldwide rights for the duration of the agreement to use the technology in drug development and in the clinic. It also covers the use of the technology by OV’s U.S.-based spinout 2X Oncology for three anticancer products, and by a new OV special purpose vehicle (SPV), OV-SPV2 project tyrosine kinase inhibitor, for one high-risk product. MPI and OV also reported that $4 million in seed funding has been secured for the two SPVs.
In return, MPI will receive warrants for a subscription of shares amounting to 2.9% of OV. MPI will also receive a 10% stake in OV’s SPVs, including 2X Oncology and OV-SPV2. This equity stake is an effective conversion of the OV license payment to MPI for projects spun out to SPVs, which would have amounted to 10% of all payments and earnings from drugs developed by SPVs.
"This series of transactions will result in a larger number and a broader range of products in OV's development portfolio,” commented Duncan Moore, Chairman of OV. “Any success from this larger portfolio of exciting drug candidates will clearly lower our cost of capital for future projects. In this regard the exclusive arrangement between MPI and Oncology Venture gives the shareholders of OV a period of 3 years in which to maximize the value from our drug development business model.”
MPIs DRP tool combines gene expression profiling with analytics to enable the development of tumor-derived genetic signatures that can predict which cancer patients are likely to respond to a given anticancer product. The technology can be used both to design a clinical development plan and select which indications are relevant for a given anticancer drug and to analyze the genetic background of patients as part of a trials screening procedure. MPI says the DRP platform is applicable to every cancer type, and has been patented for more than 60 anticancer drugs in the U.S.
OV established its women’s cancer therapeutics company 2X Oncology in September to focus initially on breast cancer and ovarian cancer therapeutics. OV’s own clinical pipeline includes the Fas ligand candidate AP0010, licensed from Onxeo (previously TopoTarget), and irofulven, a semisynthetic sesquiterpene derivative of illudin S, licensed in from Lantern Pharma.
Irofluven has already undergone 19 clinical trials, and OV aims to take the drug into Phase II development for genetically defined subsets of prostate cancer and potentially ovarian cancer. Irofulven development has been granted $800,000 from Massachusetts and the Danish Swedish Medicon Valley Alliance.
The company is also developing the tumor-targeting liposome technology LiPlasomes, under license from LiPlasome Pharma, and has progressed the initial LiPlaCis product in a Phase I study.