Sön 14 aug / År 40 / Nr 3 2022

Novel treatments for aggressive cancer based on a unique target

The discovery of the unique target integrin α10β1 may change the outcome of cancer treatment for thousands of patients across the world. Tumor-targeting antibodies for the treatment of aggressive cancers are currently being developed by Targinta, a subsidiary of biopharma company Xintela in Lund.

Per Norlén, CEO of Targinta

Targinta is the oncology subsidiary of the stem cell company Xintela. Both Xintela and Targinta are focusing on therapies in areas where there is a lack of effective treatment. While Xintela’s focus is on regenerative medicine, aiming to develop novel disease modifying treatments for osteoarthritis and difficult-to-heal venous leg ulcers, Targinta’s focus is on aggressive cancers such as triple-negative breast cancer and the brain cancer glioblastoma.  

Unique patented target

Targinta was founded based on the in-house discovery that the cell surface receptor integrin α10β1 is selectively overexpressed on certain very aggressive cancers such as glioblastoma and triple-negative breast cancer, but with very low expression in normal tissues. This allowed for an exceptional patent portfolio that essentially prevents any competitor from developing a competing drug against the target.

Many companies globally are looking for new oncology targets, according to Per Norlén,

“We have a unique and patent-protected target with exclusive rights for drug development. There are several other companies developing toxin-armed antibodies, so called ADCs (antibody-drug conjugates), but almost all of them are restricted to well-known targets without patent protection”, says Per Norlén, CEO of Targinta.

Public listing is in the plans

Targinta is now fully prepared for listing on the stock exchange, and the plan is to do this at First North as soon as possible, which is likely to be immediately after the summer holidays. Per Norlén reveals that the company’s strategy is to develop the drug candidates internally through preclinical development followed by partnerships for continued clinical development and commercialisation.

“The most important aspect of our tumour-targeting antibodies and ADCs is that the selective expression of the target in aggressive cancers allows for stronger effect and lower toxicity. Targinta has emerged as one of the leading Nordic companies developing ADCs, an area that has grown very fast in recent years with several market approvals. With first-in-class drug candidates in a hot area based on a unique and patent-protected target, Targinta’s ambition is to enter into pivotal partnerships to accelerate the development of our new cancer treatment through clinical development and to patients”, Per Norlén concludes.