TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – Jan. 6, 2016) – Arch Biopartners Inc., (Arch or the Company) (TSX VENTURE:ACH)(OTCBB:FOIFF), a portfolio based biotechnology company, today announced a Mitacs fellowship with McMaster University for its MetaMx product, a library of synthetic peptides that target and image brain tumour initiating cells.
Arch will support Dr. Parvez Vora’s Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowship to further develop MetaMx, under the supervision of renowned McMaster brain cancer scientist and neurosurgeon, Dr. Sheila Singh. The Mitacs fellowship grant of $32,500 has been augmented by $32,500 from Arch for a total of $65,000 for a period of 1-year.
During the next year, Dr. Vora will work in collaboration with Arch and the MetaMx team led by Dr. Stephen Robbins at the University of Calgary. The goal is to advance MetaMx to its first human imaging trial involving patients with recurrent malignant glioma. Dr. Vora’s objectives include: testing MetaMx against new glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) BTIC lines; investigating and developing MetaMx to detect treatment resistant GBM; and, to assist Arch in the pre-clinical development and submission of an Investigational New Drug application for the MetaMx Phase I/II imaging trial.
About Dr. Parvez Vora
Dr. Vora is a cancer biologist with a strong background in basic and translational research, and experience in planning and management of collaborative biological drug discovery projects, from the preclinical biomarker discovery, preliminary drug screening and tumor cell targeting using various therapeutic modalities. He completed Master’s degree from University of London, UK, before coming to Canada to pursue a PhD at the University of Manitoba. Prior to Arch, Dr. Vora worked as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Sheila Singh’s laboratory with primary research interest in translational neuro-oncology, with a focus on using novel targeting strategies to specifically seek out the cancer stem cell fraction of brain tumors.
About Dr. Sheila Singh
Dr. Singh is an associate professor of surgery and biochemistry at McMaster University and a pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She was appointed as a scientist to the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University. She holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology, and is Director of the McMaster Surgeon Scientist Program. Her PhD thesis described the novel identification of a population of cancer stem cells that exclusively drive the formation of brain tumors. Dr. Singh became a medical and clinical advisor to Arch and the MetaMx program in 2015.
Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 15 years. Working with 60 universities, thousands of companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. Mitacs was founded in 1999 as a Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence. Mitacs Elevate Fellowship supports postdoctoral fellows and Canadian companies/partners collaborating on cutting-edge research projects. The program develops and builds on the skills and experience of the next generation of R&D management leaders.
About MetaMx™ and Malignant Glioma
MetaMx is composed of novel, synthetic peptides that target and attach to BTICs and invasive glioma cells, for the purpose of imaging, diagnosis and developing targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes and survival rates among glioblastoma patients.
Worldwide, there are approximately 70,000 new patients with malignant glioma each year and clinical outcomes for these patients have not changed substantially over the past 30 years. Average survival rates, for adults with more aggressive glioblastoma multiforme, remain at a dismal 12-15 months and long-term survivors (i.e. those surviving more than 3 years) are rare.
This poor survival rate is linked to BTICs and invasive glioma cells which represent disease reservoirs that are not detectable using current diagnostic techniques as they are indiscernible from normal tissue. As a result, these cells are usually left behind in brain tissue post surgery and often lead to tumor relapse and poor patient outcomes.
Therefore, a significant unmet medical need and commercial opportunity lies in the ability to target BTICs and invasive glioma cells for the purpose of imaging, diagnosing and developing targeted therapies to improve patient outcomes and survival rates.
Arch continues to prepare for a human trial to characterize the safety and pharmacokinetics of MetaMx and to demonstrate the efficacy of MetaMx to cross the human blood brain barrier and detect BTICs and invasive glioma cells. Such results in human patients will increase the value of MetaMx not only as a diagnostic and imaging tool but also as a potential drug delivery platform to destroy BTICs and invasive glioma cells.
About Arch Biopartners
Arch Biopartners Inc. is focused on the development of innovative technologies that have the potential to make a significant medical or commercial impact. Arch works closely with the scientific community, universities and research institutions to advance and build the value of select preclinical technologies, develop the most promising intellectual property, and create value for its investors.
Arch has established a diverse portfolio that includes MetaMx, which targets illusive brain tumor initiating cells; AB569, a potential new treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa pulmonary infections; and, Metablok, a potential treatment for sepsis and cancer metastasis. MetaMx and AB569 are both on track to enter human clinical trials in late 2016.
For more information on Arch Biopartners, other public documents Arch has filed on SEDAR and its technologies including MetaMx, please visit www.archbiopartners.com.
The Company has 53,189,679 common shares outstanding.
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