Publication Confirms that EpCAM, the Target for Two of Micromet's Product Candidates, Is Overexpressed on Cancer Stem Cells of Certain Cancers
BETHESDA, Md., June 26, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Micromet, Inc. , a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of novel, proprietary antibody-based products for cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, announced that a study published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (1) supports the findings of several other studies that EpCAM (CD326), which is used as the target for Micromet's product candidates adecatumumab (MT201) and MT110, may be suitable as a target for eradication of so called "cancer stem cells" (CSCs). The other studies showed that CSCs from colon (2), breast (3), pancreatic (4) and prostate (5) cancers all express high levels of EpCAM, which, according to these studies, makes these cells particularly capable of causing tumors.
CSCs constitute a small percentage of tumor cells that have the potential to self-renew and to permanently repopulate a tumor with new cancer cells. CSCs appear to be resistant to various chemotherapies, which may be one of the key reasons why most current therapies cannot cure cancer through elimination of all tumor cells (6). Micromet scientists believe that the findings of EpCAM expression by CSCs in many cancers and of EpCAM being a frequently and highly expressed tumor-associated antigen (7, 8), supports Micromet's use of EpCAM for targeted therapeutics.
EpCAM is the target for Micromet's clinical-stage product candidate adecatumumab (MT201), a fully human monoclonal antibody being co-developed with Merck Serono. In addition, Micromet's BiTE(R) product candidate MT110, an anti-EpCAM/CD3-bispecific antibody construct, is currently in late preclinical development. Both product candidates are designed to recognize EpCAM- expressing cancer cells and to instruct cytotoxic cells of the immune system to eliminate such cancer cells.
"The 'seek and destroy' mechanism of our EpCAM-directed therapeutic drug candidates may be capable of finding and eradicating cancer stem cells in various indications," commented Patrick Baeuerle, Ph.D., Micromet's Chief Scientific Officer. "In addition, EpCAM is also expressed on the progeny of cancer stem cells, which may lead to a reduction of tumor mass by these drugs alone or by combining them with standard therapies."
References 1 Dalerba P, Dylla SJ, Park I-K et al. Phenotypic characterization of human colorectal cancer stem cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007; 104:10158-63 2 Ricci-Vitiani L, Lombardi DG, Pilozzi E et al. Identification and expansion of human colon-cancer-initiating cells. Nature 2007; 445: 111-15 3 Al-Hajj M, Wicha MS, Benito-Hernandez A et al. Prospective identification of tumorigenic breast cancer cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2003; 100: 3983-88 4 Li C, Heidt DG, Dalerba P et al. Identification of pancreatic cancer stem cells. Cancer Res 2007; 67: 1030-7 5 Collins AT, Berry PA, Hyde C et al. Prospective identification of tumorigenic prostate cancer stem cells. Cancer Res 2005; 65: 10946-51 6 Pan CX, Zhu W, Cheng L. Implications of cancer stem cells in the treatment of cancer. Future Oncol 2006; 2: 723-31 7 Baeuerle PA, Gires 0. EpCAM (CD326) finding its role in cancer. Brit J Cancer 2007; 96: 417-23 8 Went P, Vasei M, Bubendorf L et al. Frequent high-level expression of the immunotherapeutic target Ep-CAM in colon, stomach, prostate and lung cancers. Br J Cancer 2006; 94: 128-135
About Micromet, Inc. (www.micromet-inc.com)
Micromet, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of novel, proprietary antibody-based products for cancer, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Two product candidates are currently in clinical trials. MT103/MEDI-538, which is the first product candidate based on Micromet's novel BiTE(R) product development platform, is being evaluated in a phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The BiTE product development platform is based on a unique, antibody-based format that leverages the cytotoxic potential of T cells, widely recognized as the most powerful 'killer cells' of the human immune system. Adecatumumab (MT201), a recombinant human monoclonal antibody which targets EpCAM expressing tumors, has completed two phase 2a clinical trials, one in patients with breast cancer and the other in patients with prostate cancer. In addition, a phase 1b trial evaluating the safety and tolerability of MT201 in combination with docetaxel is currently ongoing in patients with metastatic breast cancer. Micromet has established collaborations with MedImmune, Inc. for MT103/MEDI-538, Merck Serono for adecatumumab (MT201) and Nycomed for MT203.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding the intended utilization of product candidates, the conduct and results of future clinical trials, plans regarding regulatory filings, future research, discovery of new product candidates, and clinical trials, and partnering activities. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include the risk that product candidates that appeared promising in early research and clinical trials do not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in larger-scale or later clinical trials, the risks associated with regulatory processes, the risks associated with reliance on outside financing to meet capital requirements, and the risks associated with reliance on collaborative partners for future revenues under the terms of its existing collaboration agreements, and for further pre-clinical and clinical studies, development and commercialization of product candidates. You are urged to consider statements that include the words "appear," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should," "believes," "estimates," "projects," "potential," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "intends," "continues," "forecast," "designed," "goal," or the negative of those words or other comparable words to be uncertain and forward-looking. These factors and others are more fully discussed in Micromet's periodic reports and other filings with the SEC, including the "Risk Factors" sections of such reports.
Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and, as such, speak only as of the date made. Micromet undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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Posted: June 2007