It was announced last week (January 19) that a consortium of leading European academic institutions and biotech companies have been awarded the grant for ACTaNet.
The ACTaNet project aims to generate preclinical proof-of-concept (PoC) for NP137, the biopharma company’s lead product. The project will focus on chronic bone pain in arthritis and cancer initially leveraging anti-netrin-1 antibody NP137.
NP137 is an antibody therapeutic that targets netrin-1, a protein ligand over-expressed in many cancers.
The consortium gathers experience and knowledge in the field of pain-related indications from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, University of Copenhagen in Denmark, CRCL in France as well as biotechnology expertise in the field of biomarkers from Nordic Bioscience and preclinical and clinical development of drugs from Netris Pharma.
Camilla Svensson, professor at the Karolinska Institutet said: “The members of the consortium are uniquely positioned with complementary expertise. Working together will make a difference and maximize the chances of moving NP137 towards clinical development in these indications.”
ACTaNet aims to demonstrate the efficacy of NP137 against chronic pain caused by bone-associated cancer and arthritis in preclinical models and subsequently advance the drug candidate towards the Investigational New Drug (IND) application.
“We are very pleased to be part of this collaboration. Pain is a common and debilitation symptom of joint and bone disorders and an important unmet medical need,” added Anne-Marie Heegaard, associate professor at the University of Copenhagen.
In addition, the project aims to validate relevant non-invasive translational biomarkers, such as collagen fragments, that may be used as a tool for better understanding of treating chronic pain, as well as to predict and monitor the efficacy of NP137.
The project includes a special attention to biomarkers.
Nicholas Willumsen, director, oncology, at Nordic Bioscience said: “Non-invasive biomarkers validated in a chronic pain setting can help to objectively facilitate an accurate diagnosis and evaluate efficacy of intervention. In the ActaNet project we will look for and evaluate biomarkers related to netrin-1 and their role in pain.”
The CEO of Netris Pharma, Patrick Mehlen explained that netrin-1 had been identified as a neuronal guidance cue during the embryogenesis.
He said: “We are very excited about the recent discoveries on the role of netrin-1 in pain conduction, and on the possibility of our lead asset, NP137, to inhibit pain.”