Norway-based Algeta has commenced a new oncology research programme to evaluate the potential of a targeted thorium conjugate (TTC).

The TTC is a combination of Algeta’s thorium-227 alpha-pharmaceutical payload and Immunomedics‘ anti-CD22 monoclonal antibody (epratuzumab), a well-validated target for hematological cancers.

Algeta executive vice president and chief technology officer Thomas Ramdahl said thorium-227 payload has a broad utility and has better potential to kill cancer cells compared to other therapeutic payloads.

"This collaboration brings together Algeta, the global leader in alpha-pharmaceuticals and Immunomedics, a pioneer in antibody products and technologies," Ramdahl said.

"A TTC based on a well-validated antibody such as epratuzumab is an exciting prospect as we work to achieve our goal of generating a clinical candidate from the TTC platform in 2014."

According to the deal, Immunomedics will provide clinical-grade antibody to Algeta for the evaluation of potential of a TTC.

Algeta will fund all preclinical and clinical development expenses till the end of Phase I testing, after which the companies shall discuss licensing terms, based on certain parametres.

Immunomedics will earn a signature fee, an antibody delivery milestone and payments for cGMP antibody manufacture from Algeta in the first year.

Further details of the deal have not been revealed.