January 28, 2014
Eureka Therapeutics and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center announced that they have entered into a license agreement with Novartis for the development and commercialization of ESK1, a preclinical-stage monoclonal antibody for the treatment of leukemia and other cancers. The antibody was developed under a collaborative effort between Eureka Therapeutics and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Unlike other human therapeutic monoclonal antibodies, which can only target proteins that remain on the outside of cancer cells, ESK1 targets WT1, a protein that resides on the inside of the cell. WT1 is overexpressed in a range of leukemias and other cancers including myeloma and breast, ovarian, and colorectal cancers. ESK1 was engineered to mimic the functions of a T cell receptor, a key component of the immune system. As proteins inside the cell get broken down as part of regular cellular processes, fragments of those proteins are carried to the cell surface. When T cells recognize these fragments as abnormal, through T cell receptors, the T cell kills the diseased cell.
“This partnership highlights how academia, biotech and pharma companies can work together to bring innovative cancer treatments to patients,” said Cheng Liu, President and CEO of Eureka Therapeutics. “The success of ESK1 would be a game-changer for the field of antibody therapeutics. It would validate the use of monoclonal antibodies against intracellular antigens, formerly thought to be ‘undruggable’ targets.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Eureka Therapeutics and Memorial Sloan-Kettering grant Novartis an exclusive, world-wide license to develop ESK1 for all indications. In return, Eureka Therapeutics and Memorial Sloan-Kettering will receive an up-front payment and potential future payments upon achievement of development, regulatory and sales milestones, and annual net sales royalty payments. Novartis will fund and execute all additional development and commercialization activities.
About Eureka Therapeutics
Eureka Therapeutics is a privately held biotechnology company located in the San Francisco Bay Area, focused on the discovery of fully-human antibody drugs for the treatment of cancer. Utilizing its antibody drug discovery and engineering technologies, Eureka is advancing safe and effective therapies for targeting previously inaccessible cancer antigens. The company has built an early stage pipeline of innovative drugs, with the most advanced candidates at pre-clinical stage in collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. For more information about Eureka Therapeutics, please visit: www.eurekainc.com.
Elisa Pan, Head of Business Operations
Eureka Therapeutics, Inc.
5858 Horton Street, Suite 362
Emeryville, CA 94608