Ladenburg, 19 September 2019 – Heidelberg Pharma AG (FSE : WL6) today announced that its subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma Research GmbH will receive a research grant from the European Union. Heidelberg Pharma is part of the European Training Network (ETN) MAGICBULLET, which was launched by the European Union in 2015 as part of the HORIZON 2020 program for research and innovation. Since then, the ETN MAGICBULLET consortium has received around EUR 3.75 million to develop novel biochemical conjugates for anti-tumor therapies. MAGICBULLET::reloaded is now expected to receive additional funds totaling up to EUR 3.9 million for the period from 2019 to 2022.
The ETN MAGICBULLET consortium comprises teams of researchers from different European universities, research institutions and companies. So -called small molecule drug conjugates (SMDCs) were successfully manufactured during the first funding period. As part of this process, instead of antibodies, such as ADCs, small molecules were used to target tumors and linked with Amanitin. The potential advantage of such SMDCs is their improved penetration of solid tumors.
The research field for MAGICBULLET::reloaded is now being expanded from SMDCs to include peptide-drug conjugates and is focusing on candidates that stimulate the immune response against tumors and can overcome resistance to immunotherapies. This involves searching for new tumor antigens and investigating their pharmacokinetics, selectivity and anti -tumor activity. Heidelberg Pharma also plans to expand its Amanitin conjugateresearch with peptide-Amanitin conjugates and will not only identify and validate tumor-specific drug conjugates during the new funding period, but also investigate their biological activity in in vitro and in vivo tests.
Professor Andreas Pahl, Chief Scientific Officer of Heidelberg Pharma AG, commented: “Over the last few years, we have achieved very interesting results in this international and interdisciplinary project that are worthy of further investigation. So far, the collaboration within the network has been intensive, interactive and fruitful, leading to the development of a new class of Amanitin conjugates. We also managed to gain two very strong colleagues who completed their PhDs as part of this project. We are looking forward to continuing the MAGICBULLET project and having the opportunity, together with our partners, to contribute our expertise and develop innovative anti-tumor therapies.”
In addition to MAGICBULLET::reloaded, Heidelberg Pharma is also involved in other HORIZON 2020 programs that focus on specific scientific issues with the pHionic and INTEGRATA projects.