ARTICLE | Product Development

The other way around EGF

August 9, 2004 7:00 AM UTC

In the late 1980s, when Cuban scientists began developing active and passive immunotherapies against epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor, virtually all other efforts were targeting EGFr rather than the growth factor itself. Of the five major products on the market or in late- stage clinical trials, all are focused on EGFr, by inhibiting either EGFr signaling or the tyrosine kinase activity of EGFr. The Cubans are targeting EGF itself via a therapeutic vaccine, SAI-EGF (specific active immunotherapy EGF), which triggers the immune system to develop antibodies against EGF.

As researchers have looked at the Cuban data, companies have taken an interest. First was Canada's YM BioSciences Inc., which in 1995 took a license to SAI-EG, although it later gave back rights as part of a refocusing. Earlier this year, Biocon Ltd. obtained rights covering the Indian sub-continent through Biocon Biopharmaceuticals, its Indian joint venture with the Cuban Centre of Molecular Immunology S.A. (CIMAB)(see BioCentury, June 28). ...