HOUSTON and TORONTO, March 16, 2017 /CNW/ - Medicenna BioPharma Inc. ("Medicenna" or "the Company"), a wholly owned subsidiary of Medicenna Therapeutics Corp., a publicly listed clinical stage immuno-oncology company (TSXV: "MDNA"), today announced that it has entered into a sponsored research agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center ("MD Anderson") to develop next generation fusion protein therapeutics targeting the IL-4 Receptor (IL4R). The multi-year collaboration, under the direction of Dr. Michael Rosenblum, will focus on designing, optimizing and advancing pre-clinical development of Empowered Cytokines™ based on Medicenna's novel IL-4 and IL-13 Superkine™ platform, exclusively licensed from Stanford University.
The research activities will be conducted at the Immunopharmacology and Targeted Therapy ("ITT") Laboratory in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at MD Anderson, which has considerable expertise in drug development and a full range of capabilities for characterization of oncology drug candidates. Additionally, the ITT Laboratory, led by Dr. Rosenblum, focuses on the development of novel, recombinant therapeutics targeting solid tumors, tumor vasculature and the tumor micro-environment.
"We are excited to partner with Dr. Rosenblum and the ITT Laboratory at MD Anderson to accelerate the development of next generation fully human Empowered Cytokines™," said Fahar Merchant, PhD, President & CEO of Medicenna. "By combining our Superkine™ platform with a novel cell killing payload, Medicenna's Empowered Cytokines™ are designed to selectively target and eliminate tumors as well as the immunosuppressive tumor micro-environment. We believe that our exciting platform, combined with the impressive track record of Dr. Rosenblum, will lead to novel therapeutic candidates with a superior safety and efficacy profile."
Medicenna will fund the collaboration in part from a non-dilutive grant awarded to the Company from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas ("CPRIT"). Under the terms of the sponsored research agreement, Medicenna will receive exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize any product candidates arising from the collaboration. Additional terms of this agreement were not disclosed.
About Medicenna BioPharma
Medicenna BioPharma Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Medicenna Therapeutics Corp., a publicly listed (TSXV: "MDNA") clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing novel, highly selective engineered versions of IL‐2, IL‐4 and IL‐13 cytokines called Superkines™ and first in class Empowered Cytokines™ (ECs). Based in Houston, Medicenna BioPharma is specifically targeting the Interleukin‐4 Receptor, which is over‐expressed by at least 20 different types of cancer affecting more than one million new cancer patients every year. Medicenna's lead IL‐4EC, MDNA55, is enrolling patients in a Phase 2b clinical trial for recurrent glioblastoma (rGB), the most aggressive and common form of brain cancer. MDNA55 has completed three clinical trials in 72 patients with rGB, demonstrated promising efficacy and obtained Fast‐Track Designation from the USFDA and Orphan Drug status from USFDA and EMA. Unlike most other cancer therapies, Medicenna's IL‐4 ECs have the potential to purge both the tumor and the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, offering a unique treatment paradigm for a large majority of cancer patients. For more information, please visit www.medicenna.com.
About MD Anderson
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston ranks as one of the world's most respected centers focused on cancer patient care, research, education and prevention. The institution's sole mission is to end cancer for patients and their families around the world. MD Anderson is one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). MD Anderson is ranked No.1 for cancer care in U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" survey. It has ranked as one of the nation's top two hospitals since the survey began in 1990, and has ranked first for nine of the past 10 years. MD Anderson receives a cancer center support grant from the NCI of the National Institutes of Health (P30 CA016672).
To date, CPRIT has awarded $1.78 billion in grants to Texas researchers, institutions and organizations. CPRIT provides funding through its academic research, prevention, and product development research programs. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached all 254 counties of the state, brought more than 123 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and provided more than three million life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services to Texans. Learn more at cprit.texas.gov.
This news release contains forward-looking statements relating to the future operations of the Company and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as "will", "may", "should", "anticipate", "expects" and similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact, included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding future plans and objectives of the Company, statements related to the collaboration and that it will lead to novel therapeutics candidates with a superior safety and efficacy profile and others are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations include the risks detailed in the filing statement of the Company dated February 27, 2017 and in other filings made by the Company with the applicable securities regulators from time to time.
The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of any forward-looking information may prove to be incorrect. Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and the Company will update or revise publicly any of the included forward-looking statements only as expressly required by Canadian securities law.
SOURCE Medicenna Therapeutics Corp.