Ons 21 feb / År 42 / Nr 4 2023

Cancer treatment developed in Sweden may be a game-changer

Cantargia has managed to do what so many other companies in oncology treatment development have failed to do. In just under ten years, Cantargia has been able to advance from an academic environment to a listed company with several ongoing clinical trials. Thus, Cantargia dispels the myth that new treatments in oncology take decades to develop from the initial discovery.

Göran Forsberg

Cantargia’s lead drugnadunolimab has the potential to improve the outcome of standard chemotherapy treatments tremendously and can also help to block further metastatic development. So far, trials of the lead drug involve patients with pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. There are strong indications that nadunolimab may have similar effects on other cancers as well.

May be a game-changer

Things are starting to hype up for Cantargia. During 2021, the well renowned US organization Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, PanCAN, expressed interest in nadunolimab . PanCAN has selected four promising leads to be further developed in collaboration with some of the world’s most prominent hospitals. This is clearly a unique journey very few Biotech founders get the chance to join.  

Not only will the PanCAN Precision Promise-based study, where Cantargia’s nadunolimab is included, bring Cantargia into the world’s best environment for developing new treatments for pancreatic cancer. It will also provide substantial funding for taking nadunolimab through a pivotal clinical trial, and a possible commercial launch in around five years’ time.

“Nadunolimab may be a game-changer, and this is what we aim to prove through the study within PanCAN Precision Promise. We are preparing to prove that nadunolimab , used as an add-on to chemotherapy, will indeed increase the life span as well as the quality of life for patients with pancreatic cancer”, says Göran Forsberg, CEO at Cantargia.

Making chemotherapy more targeted

Nadunolimab is designed to primarily attack cancerous cells, leaving healthy cells undamaged. The initial results have so far been very promising, forming the basis for the next step development together with PanCAN.

The importance of the cancer promoting mechanisms counteracted by nadunolimab  is becoming increasingly recognised by researchers. Treatments that effectively attack cancerous cells, and can be safely combined with other cancer treatments, are more sought after than ever. Nadunolimab is designed to include both aspects; it blocks the spread of metastases,  counteracts resistance against standard chemotherapy in a safe way which is thought to increase life expectancy for cancer patients.

As already mentioned, nadunolimab has the potential to play an important role in several parts of both classical chemotherapy-based drugs but also the novel generation cancer treatment strategies including immune therapy.

“Considering recent advances, it is possible that nadunolimab  can be approved as early as 2027, and then with very substantial research and testing behind it. Our main goal is to minimise side effects of traditional cancer treatments and at the same time making them more effective. Considering the current and expected need, what we hope to do is to change the future outcome of cancer treatments”, explains Göran Forsberg.  

Cantargia has been granted patents of the target molecule IL1RAP until 2032, and nadunolimab is patented until 2035.