Anti-cancer therapeutics developer Nordic Nanovector has entered into a collaboration with Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland, to develop new antibody radionuclide conjugates (ARCs) for treating leukaemia.

The partners will develop ARCs optimised for the treatment of different types of single cell leukaemia, such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

CLL affects B cell lymphocytes, which originate in the bone marrow, develop in the lymph nodes, and produce antibodies to fight infection.

In patients affected with CLL, B cells grow in an uncontrolled manner and accumulate in the bone marrow and blood, where they become stronger than healthy blood cells.

"This project is a positive step towards Nordic Nanovector’s mission of extending and improving the lives of patients with haematological cancers."

AML is a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells, which is caused by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells.

Through the collaboration, the companies will explore the use of various radionuclide payloads, provided by PSI, linked to Nordic Nanovector’s chimeric anti-CD37 antibody (NNV003) to combine specific tumour-targeting with tumour-eradicating radiation.

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The successful candidates will be advanced into preclinical and clinical trials.

Nordic Nanovector chief scientific officer Jostein Dahle said: "We believe that the potential of our CD37-targeting approaches provides an excellent framework for us to create a pipeline of ARCs with profiles suitable for treating multiple types of leukaemia and lymphoma.

"This project is a positive step towards Nordic Nanovector’s mission of extending and improving the lives of patients with haematological cancers."

The project is being backed by grant funding awarded to Nordic Nanovector by the Research Council of Norway’s user-driven research-based innovation programme.

Nordic Nanovector said that its most advanced ARC, Betalutin, is currently in a Phase I/II clinical trial for the treatment of third and second line non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a highly prevalent haematological disease.

Betalutin comprises the murine anti-CD37 antibody (HH1) conjugated to lutetium-177. It has the potential to be a very valuable alternative for NHL treatment.