Looking back at the third quarter, it’s clear that Curasight is keeping the momentum in the development. Among other things, the much-anticipated phase II results in brain cancer were presented at the World Molecular Imaging Congress. The company now look forward to more results, while filing applications for further studies with both uTRACE and uTREAT. BioStock contacted Curasight’s CEO Ulrich Krasilnikoff to learn more.
In its development, Copenhagen based Curasight leverages the uPAR receptor, a key marker of cancer aggressiveness. uTRACE, their PET tracer, serves as a non-invasive diagnostic tool that identifies and evaluates the aggressiveness of cancer. In contrast, uTREAT, the therapeutic counterpart, combines this tracer with a beta-emitting radionuclide. This combination results in a form of short-range radiation therapy, targeting cancer cells while minimising exposure to healthy tissue.
Strengthened by deal
In the current strategy, the efforts within imaging are focused on deploying uTRACE for diagnosing head and neck cancer, neuroendocrine tumours, brain cancer and prostate cancer. For the latter, the company stroke a deal with radiopharmaceuticals company Curium earlier this year.
Meanwhile, uTREAT has shown positive preclinical proof of concept in brain-, lung-, colorectal- and prostate cancer. With proof-of-concept obtained in four different solid tumours, the company thinks that it is likely that the technology works across all solid tumours expressing uPAR, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of all solid tumours.
Preclinical results in lung cancer
While brain cancer is considered the main indication for uTREAT, Curasight is constantly looking to into the full potential of the drug candidate. The company recently announced positive preclinical data in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The results are seen as a substantial step forward, providing a strong foundation for further development and exploration in this particular area of cancer treatment.
Presented brain cancer findings
Data from the investigator-initiated phase II study with uTRACE in brain cancer were recently presented at the World Molecular Imaging Congress in Prague. The results revealed that almost all of the glioblastoma patients in the study had tumours positive for the uPAR biomarker. The study also found that high levels of uPAR expression were closely associated with poorer outcomes.
The findings support Curasight’s theranostics approach in brain cancer treatment, integrating diagnosis through uTRACE with targeted radionuclide therapy using uTREAT, particularly for high-grade gliomas. Going forward Curasight anticipates revealing additional results from preclinical studies involving various cancer types treated with uTREAT.
Furthermore, plans are underway on the clinical development plan and when to file applications with regulatory authorities in both the European Union and the United States for the initiation of new clinical studies with the candidates.
Looking at financing alternatives
Looking at the financials, Curasight ended the third quarter with a cash position amounting to 27.7 MDKK. The operating result for the period was approximately -8.3 MDKK. To keep building on the current development momentum, Curasight is currently exploring a range of new funding options and business development activities. A key focus in these efforts is trying to find new potential partnerships, building on the success with the Curium deal.
Comments from the CEO
BioStock contacted CEO Ulrich Krasilnikoff to get his thoughts on the milestones reached this fall and the development going forward.
First of all, how would you characterise the third quarter of 2023?
– Building upon the strategic successes earlier this year, which included the signing of a partnership with Curium, a global leader in the field of radio pharmaceuticals, we’ve continued to advance our position as a leading theranostic company, with Q3 marking yet another eventful period of growth and innovation.
– One of the recent highlights was our announcement of the positive preclinical data for our treatment platform, uTREAT, in non-small cell lung cancer. These results provide strong support for uTREAT’s potential as a radioligand therapy, opening new avenues for treatment and further development in this indication.
– Additionally, we were proud to share the positive outcomes from the investigator-initiated phase II study of our diagnosis platform uTRACE in brain cancer, which were presented at the World Molecular Imaging Congress in September in Prague. The study highlighted that the majority of glioblastoma patients displayed uPAR-positive tumours, and high uPAR expression was significantly correlated with a worse outcome.
– This study supports our approach of using our uPAR theranostic platform in brain cancer, combining uTRACE-diagnosis with targeted radionuclide therapy in the form of uTREAT for high grade gliomas.
You have a good set of results, both preclinical and clinical, mixed with the recent deal with Curium. How would you describe your position in the ongoing hunt for further partnership deals?
– We are in a very good position, as nuclear medicine and targeted radionuclide therapy for the treatment of cancer has seriously entered the agenda of big pharma, who are looking in particular for technologies based on peptides and small molecules.
– This is exactly what the uTRACE and uTREAT technologies are built on. Combining this with the fact that uPAR is expressed in almost all solid tumours and across cancer types, makes Curasight stand really strong. Once the product is ready, testing it in other indications will be much easier.
– Furthermore, data from both preclinical and clinical studies affirm that our platforms, uTRACE and uTREAT, are cancer-specific, but not cancer-type specific.
In your report, you write that you are looking to start new clinical studies. Can you share some more information about what indications you will be targeting?
– We are working on an accelerated development plan for uTREAT, based on the encouraging pre-clinical results we have achieved so far. The aim is to get uTREAT to market as soon as possible, not just in one indication, but in several indications. This will bring Curasight to a very interesting position in relation to partnership agreements. We cannot be more specific at this time, but hope to be able to announce more precisely before the turn of the year.
So far, your clinical studies have been investigator initiated. Is that also to be the case going forward?
– No, future studies will largely be sponsored by Curasight, or as part of a development collaboration with big pharma.The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.