Within BMP4EAC we aim to investigate the commercial feasibility of our newly discovered and highly specific antibodies against BMP4 and one of its receptors, BMPR1a, for imaging applications in oncology. BMP4 and BMPR1a are highly expressed in esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) and other tumors as well as their metastases. The specificity, strong binding capacity, rapid clearance, high tissue penetration level, and flexibility of our antibodies is unprecedented and makes them highly suitable for in vivo imaging applications.
The opportunity: The current methods for evaluation of disease stage consist of diverse modalities, including, CT and PET-CT scans, and ultrasonography. These techniques have major limitations to accurately detect metastasis and are inadequate for monitoring disease response. In the clinical setting we foresee applications of our proprietary technology in the non-invasive diagnosis of tumors and metastases with high expression of BMP4 and/or BMPR1a (e.g. EAC), identification of patients with high chance to respond to BMP4 inhibitors, follow tumor progression during treatment, and facilitated localization of small metastases during surgical treatment. Furthermore, the labeled antibodies can be used to investigate the efficacy of novel therapeutic agents by following tumor progression in animal models in a research setting.
The project and expected outcomes: Within the ERC PoC we will explore the commercial feasibility by in vivo validation experiments as well as by performing essential research for the formulation of a business proposition, strengthening our IP position, and developing a sound business plan. These activities will result in a proposition package that will be used to present the commercial potential to investors and other strategic partners to attract funding after completion of the ERC PoC and potentially even initiate licensing and partnership deals.
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