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Pascal Biosciences Acquires Technology To Treat Leukemia From The University of New Mexico



9/11/2017 10:07:10 AM

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pascal Biosciences Inc. (TSX-V:PAS) (“Pascal” or the “Company”), a drug discovery and development company, today announced that the Company has executed an exclusive, worldwide license option agreement with STC.UNM (“STC”), the University of New Mexico’s (“UNM”) technology-transfer and economic-development organization, to acquire a therapeutic monoclonal antibody for B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL).

ALL is the most common childhood cancer, peaking around two to five years of age, and is also seen in older adults above age fifty. This disease is caused by mutations during the early development of lymphocytes. Tumor cells from the majority of ALL patients express the marker VpreB1, a subunit of the pre–B cell receptor (pre-BCR). Dr. Bridget S. Wilson and Dr. Stuart S. Winter and their colleagues at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center have discovered a high-affinity, fully human monoclonal antibody specific for VpreB1 that kills ALL tumor cells in cell culture. Expression of this marker is limited to leukemic cells and a small subset of developing immune cells called pre-B cells. Therefore, targeting VpreB1 specifically eliminates the tumor cells, while sparing the more mature memory B cells that are essential to the immune system in combating infection. In contrast, drugs targeting more broadly expressed markers, such as CD19, destroy not only the pre-B leukemia cells but also the more mature B cells. Therefore, this VpreB1-targeted therapy is likely to be much safer than chemotherapy, which destroys all growing cells and has significant detrimental side effects.

“Due to its bivalent nature, the pre-BCR is a particularly novel and ideal antigen for chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (“CAR-T”) therapy,” says Dr. Wilson. “And, since crosslinking of the pre-BCR leads to rapid endocytosis, anti-VpreB1 antibodies are ideal for drug delivery. We look forward to working with Pascal on advancing this discovery into human clinical trials.” The UNM technology covers all VpreB1-targeted therapeutics such as antibody-drug conjugates and CAR-T therapy. Pascal will also work with UNM to develop a diagnostic screen to determine which patients will best respond to therapy targeting VpreB1.

“We are very pleased to acquire this novel technology from UNM, and we look forward to working closely with Drs. Wilson and Winter. Fortunately, most patients with this devastating disease can be cured with standard chemotherapy. However, those that fail chemotherapy usually have poor outcomes, and we believe VpreB1 therapy has great potential to treat these patients,” commented Dr. Patrick Gray, CEO of Pascal. “In addition, young patients that receive chemotherapy often develop other cancers as they mature, so a more targeted therapy focused on VpreB1 may prevent future serious complications.”

“This innovation involves a less-toxic cancer therapy that has the potential to improve quality of life and decrease mortality rates in leukemia patients. We feel very fortunate to be partnering with Pascal Biosciences to bring this technology to market,” added Lisa Kuuttila, CEO & Chief Economic Development Officer of STC. This exclusive option agreement grants Pascal six months to license the UNM technology, and this option may be extended by an additional twelve months.

ABOUT PASCAL BIOSCIENCES INC.
Pascal focuses on harnessing the body’s immune system to fight cancer, autoimmune disorders, and infectious disease. The Company’s three significant technologies are:

  1. Utilizing proprietary screening systems for identifying novel compounds that are able to restore immune recognition and killing of cancer cells;
  2. Exploiting the regulation of specific calcium channels expressed by cells of the immune system. By regulating these calcium channels, immune activity can be controlled to combat cancers, infections and autoimmune diseases; and
  3. Modulating CD74, a protein involved in the immune system, to promote immune responses to cancer and pathogenic microbes. Finding molecules that regulate CD74 activity will aid the immune system to combat infections and cancers and to control autoimmune diseases.

To learn more, visit: https://www.pascalbiosciences.com/.

ABOUT STC.UNM
As the technology-transfer and economic-development organization for the University of New Mexico, STC.UNM protects and commercializes technologies developed at UNM by filing patents and copyrights and transferring them to the marketplace. STC connects the business community (companies, entrepreneurs and investors) to UNM technologies for licensing opportunities and the creation of start-up companies. STC’s vision is to play a vital role in New Mexico’s economic development and to be a leader in technology commercialization. Under the leadership of CEO Lisa Kuuttila, STC is substantially growing its program using the Rainforest model to develop an innovation economy in New Mexico. To learn more, visit: https://stc.unm.edu.

On Behalf of the Board of Directors
Dr. Patrick W. Gray, President & CEO

Company Contact:
Dr. Patrick Gray
Tel: 206-650-6575

DISCLAIMER

Certain statements in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 or forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities legislation that may not be based on historical fact, including without limitation statements containing the words “believe”, “may”, “plan”, “will”, “estimate”, “continue”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect” and similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements or information involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, events or developments, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, events or developments express or implied by such forward-looking statements or information. Such factors include, among others, our stage of development, lack of any product revenues, additional capital requirements, risk associated with the completion of clinical trials and obtaining regulatory approval to market our products, the ability to protect our intellectual property, dependence on collaborative partners and the prospects for negotiating additional corporate collaborations or licensing arrangements and their timing. Specifically, certain risks and uncertainties that could cause such actual events or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and information to differ materially from any future events or results expressed or implied by such statements and information include, but are not limited to, the risks and uncertainties that: products that we develop may not succeed in preclinical or clinical trials, or future products in our targeted corporate objectives; our future operating results are uncertain and likely to fluctuate; we may not be able to raise additional capital; we may not be successful in establishing additional corporate collaborations or licensing arrangements; we may not be able to establish marketing and the costs of launching our products may be greater than anticipated; we have no experience in commercial manufacturing; we may face unknown risks related to intellectual property matters; we face increased competition from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies; and other factors as described in detail in our filings with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities at www.sedar.com. Given these risks and uncertainties, you are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements and information, which are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. All forward-looking statements and information made herein are based on our current expectations and we undertake no obligation to revise or update such forward- looking statements and information to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.

“Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release”


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