Bioggio, Switzerland and Rehovot, Israel, June 4, 2012 – Telormedix SA and Foamix Ltd., two clinical stage biopharmaceutical companies focused on TLR7 agonists in the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases and on topical foam delivery systems, respectively, today announced that they have raised funding from the European Eurostars Programme to coordinate a two-year international research project aimed at developing a new skin cancer topical treatment based on a foam formulation of one of the Company’s promising drug candidates, TMX-202. The project, operating under the acronym TOSCA, will have a total budget of just under € 950K.
The TOSCA project’s main focus will be to develop an effective and safe topical treatment for skin cancer (dermatological cancers), actinic keratosis (AK) and genital warts by combining the target specific binding properties of TMX-202 with an innovative foam formulation to optimize skin penetration, drug delivery and patient compliance.
Efficacy and safety of the formulated compound will be studied and compared to current therapeutic approaches in a suite of proof-of-concept preclinical experiments using a unique animal model that closely mimics development of skin diseases in humans. Two additional research teams will also be participating in this TOSCA project: Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin (Germany); and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ, Germany). Dr. Alcide Barberis, Head of Research and Collaborations at Telormedix, has been appointed as the project’s scientific coordinator.
Dr. Barberis commented:
“We are delighted to once again receive funding from the Eurostars Programme to coordinate a promising research collaboration with strong international partners. After LIPODEL in September 2011, TOSCA is the second project to be so sponsored and we look forward to working with Foamix, Charité Hospital in Berlin and the DKFZ on developing an innovative compound formulation effective against dermatological cancers.”
Dr. Johanna Holldack, CEO at Telormedix, added:
“This is another opportunity to take one of our compounds to the next development level and we are proud to be a partner of choice for this promising dermatological programme.”
Dr. Dov Tamarkin, CEO at Foamix, concurred:
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Telormedix on this innovative and promising project. We are convinced that our team effort will result in a useful product for the many millions patients suffering from skin cancer, actinic keratosis and genital warts.”
There is an immense market potential for topical TMX-202. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are the most common skin cancer; an estimated 2.8 million are diagnosed annually in the US with BCC and 700,000 cases are diagnosed each year in the US with BCC. Actinic keratosis is the most common precancerous condition; it affects more than 58 million Americans. An estimated 40 million Americans are infected with genital warts. Between 500,000 and one million new cases of genital warts are diagnosed each year.
The Eurostars Programme is the European funding and support programme specifically dedicated to stimulating international collaborative research and innovation projects of small and medium enterprises. For further information on the Eurostars Programme, please visit: www.eurostars-eureka.eu
Telormedix (www.telormedix.com), founded in October 2007, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on targeted immunity and modulation of the innate immune system for treating cancer and autoimmune diseases. The Company’s lead product, TMX-101, recently entered a Phase I/II clinical trial for the treatment of Non-Muscle Invasive Bladder Cancer (NMIBC). In addition, Telormedix is developing novel TLR7-targeted agonists. One of these molecules, TMX-202, has recently been selected for preclinical study for the topical treatment of skin cancers and other indications. Telormedix also has a pipeline of programs for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, which includes TMX-302, a TLR7-binding small molecule showing anti-inflammatory properties in vivo.
Located in Switzerland, Telormedix is led by a highly experienced management team and backed by an international consortium of venture capitalists including Aravis Venture (Basel, Switzerland) and Proquest Investments (Princeton-San Diego, USA).
Foamix Ltd. (www.foamix.co.il) is a clinical-stage, privately held specialty pharmaceutical company, focused on the development of proprietary topical foams for dermatology, gynecology, wounds and burn applications, as well as ophthalmic disorders. Foamix collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies in the creation of advanced products with improved convenience, higher compliance and better efficacy, which are backed by an extensive patent portfolio. With a strong in-house pipeline, backed up by broad intellectual property, the Company’s development capabilities range from initial development of the formulations to scale-up, GMP manufacturing, preclinical and clinical studies.
Foamix was founded in 2003 and is located in Rehovot near Tel-Aviv, Israel.
About Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin – Viral Skin Carcinogenesis Group
One of the largest university hospitals in Europe, the Charité (www.charite.de) is widely recognized for its prominent role in interdisciplinary clinical and translational cancer research.
The Charité’s viral skin carcinogenesis research unit focuses on the molecular mechanisms of epithelial tumors, especially the investigation of oncogenic viruses in the process of skin carcinogenesis and the identification of early detection- and progression markers of these carcinomas in order to diagnose and cure non-melanoma skin cancer particularly in organ-transplant recipients. The Group’s resources comprise a capacious tumour and serum bank derived from immuno- and non-immunosuppressed patients, as well as a close collaboration with the German Cancer Research Center (Heidelberg) for basic research in viral skin carcinogenesis. In addition, the Group founded a German network of organ-transplant recipients (SCOP, skin care in organ transplant patients), and the European Skin Cancer Foundation (ESCF) that aims to assist in developing and providing standardized prevention strategies and treatment guidelines on a European level.
About German Cancer Research Center - Viral Transformation Mechanisms Division
The German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ; www.dkfz.de), is the largest biomedical research institute in Germany working on the challenging mission to prevent and cure cancer. DKFZ has also a long tradition in performing excellent basic science to discover fundamental mechanisms as well as novel aspects in cancer development, notably the discovery of human papillomaviruses (HPV) in the aetiology of cervical cancer which finally lead to the implementation of a cancer vaccine, honoured with a Nobel Prize in 2008.
As part of the research programme “Infection and Cancer”, the division “Viral Transformation Mechanisms” investigates the role of viruses in cancer development, in particular of human papillomaviruses that are able to cause cancer mainly of the genital tract like the cervix uteri. The he Group’s major objective is to identify the molecular and immunological mechanisms leading to malignant transformation during long-term HPV-host interactions. Understanding the molecular background of cellular control mechanism failure will help to design specific therapies against HPV-associated tumours. Furthermore, the group investigates preclinical approaches against skin-infecting papillomaviruses that are responsible for massive wart infestation and skin malignancies particularly in organ transplant recipients.
Dr. Alcide Barberis
TOSCA Project Coordinator
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