Sön 21 jul / År 42 / Nr 3 2024

Antibody based cancer treatment with multiple functions

Cantargia’s antibody-based cancer treatments may eventually change the lives of millions. Focusing initially on lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, the goal is for Cantargia’s lead drug to increase the life span as well as the quality of life in a very large patient group, targeting more cancer diseases as clinical results excel.

The importance of the role of inflammation in cancer is becoming increasingly recognised by researchers. Treatments that effectively attack cancerous cells, as well as counteracting chronic tumour inflammation, are more sought after than ever –Cantargia’s lead antibody CAN04 is designed to include both aspects. The last year two additional important findings were made: The antibody blocks the spread of metastases and counteracts resistance against standard chemotherapy.

Changing oncology
Over the past ten years Cantargia has developed its lead drug, CAN04, based on a finding and research from Lund University. Standards were set high from the very beginning.
The development has gone from the discovery in the academic environment to a public phase II clinical stage company in less than ten years. The lead drug is currently investigated in patients with pancreatic cancer or lung cancer. The phase I data received strong international recognition when selected for an oral presentation at the 2019 ASCO meeting in Chicago, the major annual cancer conference.
CAN04 has the potential to play an important role in several parts of both current and future cancer treatment strategies. The phase I/IIa study, known as CANFOUR, began with an evaluation of the safety and tolerability of CAN04 at escalating dose levels in five clinics in Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway. The second part, aiming to get an initial indication of anti-tumour activity, involves more patients at around 20 centres in several countries. The next step will be a more focused development in the most promising of these diseases.
“Considering recent advances, in the most aggressive scenarios it is possible that CAN04 can be approved as early as early as 2023”, says Cantargia CEO Göran Forsberg.
Cantargia has granted patents around the target molecule until 2032, and the lead drug developed by Cantargia is patented until 2035.

Other areas of interest
CAN04 may also have potential to make a difference in treating breast cancer, various forms of leukaemia, liver cancer, oesophageal cancer and head and neck cancer. The core technology developed by Cantargia also has potential for various applications in autoimmune diseases. Thus, the company has already started developing a second antibody for the treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, now close to selecting a product candidate.
“In our biological platform, it is a small step from cancer to autoimmune disease. We are also aware that expanding the areas we focus on also reduces risk for us and for our investors”, says Göran Forsberg.