Antisoma rejects licence bids for new tumour-fighting drug

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The Independent Online

Antisoma, the cash-strapped cancer research group, has rejected bids to license its latest drug that helps cut off the blood supply to tumours.

The product, codenamed DMXAA, may boost the effectiveness of radiotherapy for cancer patients, according to new research. Antisoma is already trialing the drug for use in conjunction with chemotherapy.

Glyn Edwards, chief executive, said he would prefer to license out drugs that are at a later stage of development, such as Therex, an antibody treatment for breast cancer.

Out-licensing products in the early stages of drug development would leave Antisoma with only a small proportion of royalties from any eventual sales.

Antisoma's website includes a series of presentations touting its product pipeline to potential licensees, and the company is in talks with several interested parties. The company needs to raise up to £15m in the next few months, to fund further trials of its lead drug, pemtumomab, for ovarian cancer.

Mr Edwards said he is talking informally to shareholders to gauge support for an equity fundraising, which could mean Antisoma won't need to license out any products at all.

Antisoma licensed DMXAA from the Cancer Research Campaign in August. It works by cutting off the blood supply to a tumour, and may also cause blood vessels to rel-ease substances that make tumours more sensitive to chemotherapy.

Research on mice, to be published in the journal Radiation Research, shows that the product enhances the impact of radiotherapy on tumours.

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