SME’s research lands EUR 50 million investment for revolutionary cancer treatment
The treatment of cancer is one of the most important areas of research in the medical world. A small research-based pharmaceutical company from Sweden has, together with its partner in Belgium, developed an innovative form of treatment that stops the growth of cancerous tumours through angiogenesis, the process by which new blood vessels are produced in the body. Three years on, the company has announced its results and secured a EUR 50 million investment from global pharmaceutical giant Roche.
The programme began with preclinical research in animal models, in this case mice, to deduce whether or not the antibody actually produced anti-tumour activity. To move into the next step – clinical trials in humans – toxicology studies were undertaken to ensure the antibody is safe for human use.
Manufacture was the next step. The team had to produce enough antibody for clinical studies. 'So we scaled up appropriately and tested our systems for manufacturing at BioInvent,' says Dr Niskanen.
Finally, different types of tumour had to be studied to identify which are more dependent on PIGF for growth. 'We contacted three clinical groups who had access to patient material and got to work. This was a crucial step in showing where the antibody is likely to be most effective,' explains Dr Niskanen.