Leuven, April 14, 2015 – ThromboGenics NV (Euronext Brussels: THR), an integrated biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative ophthalmic medicines, today announces the foundation of Oncurious NV, a new oncology company that will develop TB-403 for the treatment of pediatric brain tumors. VIB, a leading life sciences institute in Flanders (Belgium), will become a shareholder alongside ThromboGenics in this new oncology venture. ThromboGenics will be the majority shareholder.
TB-403 is a humanized monoclonal antibody against placental growth factor (PlGF). PlGF is expressed in several types of cancer, including medulloblastoma. High expression of the PlGF receptor neuropilin 1 has been shown to correlate with poor overall survival. Medulloblastoma is a rare, life-threatening brain tumor that mainly affects children.
Treatment with TB-403 in relevant animal models for medulloblastoma has demonstrated beneficial effects on tumor growth and survival. The antibody can potentially be used in other pediatric cancer indications, including neuroblastoma.
In February 2013, a paper in Cell (Cell, 152, 1065-76, 2013) highlighted for the first time that PlGF plays a vital role in the brain and that its expression is required for the growth and spread of medulloblastoma. The paper was based on pre-clinical research conducted by Prof Rakesh Jain from the Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard (Boston) and the team of Prof Peter Carmeliet from VIB/ KU Leuven.
Oncurious now plans to start a Phase I/IIa program with TB-403 in medulloblastoma patients. Enrollment of the first patient is expected for the end of 2015.
The favorable safety profile of TB-403 has already been demonstrated in clinical trials in patients with other diseases.