What is going to be the key to success? A stratified medicine approach.
Dr Mike Leek, CEO of TC Biopharm, explained that if you stratify the patient intelligently you will be able to treat less patients and prove that your product is efficacious. “It is an approach that should be used more and more also in regenerative medicine”, he added.
TC Biopharm is a newly establish Scottish start-up which built a strategic partnership with Medinet Co. Ltd ( a Tokyo listed company) in order to develop and commercialise in Europe a new cell-based treatment for cancer.
The treatment leverages on the ability of a subpopulation of patient’s white blood cells, called T-lymphocytes, to selectively kill cancer cells. Numerous studies in Japan showed that these cells can isolated from the patient’s blood, expanded ex-vivo and injected back into the same patient to successfully treat tumour types including gastric cancer, renal cell carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic cancer, acute myeloid leukaemia, multiple myeloma and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
This newly developed treatment would be complimentary to traditional pharma products (like PDL-1 inhibitor).
Mike managed to raise £1.6m combining equity finance from MEDINET, Scottish regional selective assistance (RSA) and venture investment.
First patients in UK will be treated in early 2015 in a clinical trial design which has been classified as “adaptive”.
Mike introduced me to Mr Kunihiko Suzuki , President and CEO of MEDINET Co. Ltd. Who explained to me the main reason why he is so happy to collaborate with TC Biopharm: it is our shared vision for this business opportunity with its risks that we both are willing to take.
Based on Japanese promising clinical data, they both strongly believe that this therapy has the potential to significantly improve the patient’s quality of life.
Fabio D’Agostino for Total BioPharma at WSCRM Congress, London
Fabio D’Agostino is a research engineer at the Biopharmaceutical Bioprocessing Technology centre at Newcastle University