AdAlta (ASX:1AD) has announced that its commercial agreement with GE Healthcare is moving to the next phase following the successful identification of multiple i-bodies to be advanced into pre-clinical development for use as a potential PET diagnostic imaging agent.
PET – or Positron Emission Tomography – imaging plays a role in the development and use of cancer immunotherapies by non-invasively measuring patient response before, during and after treatment.
The PET diagnostic under development by AdAlta and GE Healthcare is designed to show whether immune cells produce an enzyme called granzyme B in tumours and therefore whether cancer immunotherapies, such as checkpoint inhibitors, are working effectively to reactivate the immune system that the tumour has suppressed.
Dr Paul Evans, the head of Global R&D for GE Healthcare Pharmaceutical Diagnostics, said, “Granzyme B is a key target for PET imaging of immune cell activity in cancer that can indicate whether certain cancer therapies are working. This could provide vital early information to help with assessing the next steps in a patient’s treatment regime. We are very pleased with the progress of our collaboration with AdAlta and look forward to our expanded association as we progress further into development.”
AdAlta CEO Dr Tim Oldham said, “Co-developing i-body products with leading partners like GE Healthcare is a core part of AdAlta’s strategy to build a strong and diverse pipeline. We are proud to have ticked a significant milestone as this diagnostic moves from discovery to pre-clinical development and also to contribute our growing manufacturing expertise to accelerating development of this important product.”
AdAlta said it has now successfully completed the discovery and lead optimisation process to identify and characterise i-bodies suitable for further development.
GE Healthcare and AdAlta have also agreed to amend their collaboration agreement. AdAlta will now provide support for i-body manufacturing for both pre-clinical and clinical testing of these candidates, as well as conducting certain pre-clinical studies. AdAlta said it will earn additional research fees funding this additional support ahead of the next milestone payment due, assuming technical success, on achieving pre-clinical proof of concept (and selection of a lead i-body candidate).
Initially, a granzyme B PET imaging agent would support pharma companies as a research tool to enhance clinical trials, improving speed-to-market for immunotherapies. Subsequent regulatory approval could enable the product to be used as a routine diagnostic and patient stratification tool.