PULLMAN – WSU research, in collaboration with the Seattle biotech start-up Cancer Targeted Technology (CTT), has led to a research and license option agreement with an international pharmaceuticals company toward the goal of better diagnosis and treatment for prostate cancer.
Bayer Pharma AG, Germany will fund research and development toward clinical trials of a prostate tumor imaging agent. This would be the first available PET (positron emission tomography) imaging agent specifically designed for prostate cancer, which is generally difficult to detect with conventional PET scans.
The work could lead to signing of a licensing deal that would pay when clinical development milestones are achieved. Royalties would be paid when products resulting from the collaboration are sold. Financial details of the agreement are not being disclosed.
At WSU, Cliff Berkman’s lab has developed compounds that find and bind to prostate cancer proteins. In collaboration with WSU and Berkman, CTT has licensed the work for commercial development and is a licensing conduit for future successes coming out of Berkman’s lab.
In addition to his professor of chemistry role at WSU, Berkman is chief scientific officer of CTT. Under the agreement between Bayer and CTT, he will continue to conduct and supervise work to enhance the chemistry of the tumor homing compounds.
Bayer will work to better incorporate radioactive fluorine-18 into Berkman’s compounds. 18F is an isotope that can be traced in the body with a PET scan.
The goal is a conveniently prepared agent that successfully detects and images prostate tumors in animal models, said Berkman.