REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells, today announced the advancement of the first small molecule Wnt pathway inhibitor under its collaboration with Bayer Pharma AG. The small molecule product candidate is advancing to preclinical development triggering a $2 million milestone payment to OncoMed.
John Lewicki, Ph.D., OncoMed's Chief Scientific Officer, commented, "By combining OncoMed's anti-cancer stem cell discovery expertise and platform technologies with Bayer's medicinal chemistry capabilities, we have identified a novel small molecule candidate targeting the Wnt pathway. Early preclinical testing of this molecule's activity demonstrates robust anti-tumor and anti-cancer stem cell activity that warrants further testing."
OncoMed and Bayer initiated joint discovery efforts to identify small molecule inhibitors of the Wnt pathway, a key cancer stem cell pathway, as part of the companies' collaboration initiated in 2010. This is the first small molecule inhibitor of a cancer stem cell pathway from the collaboration to enter preclinical development. Bayer will lead development and commercialization of Wnt small molecule product candidates. As part of this collaboration, OncoMed is leading the advancement of two clinical-stage biologic candidates, vantictumab (anti-FZD7, OMP-18R5) and ipafricept (Fzd8-Fc, OMP-54F28), through multiple Phase 1b studies.
"OncoMed's biologics targeting the Wnt pathway, vantictumab and ipafricept, have made steady clinical progress, demonstrating potent on-target activity," said Paul Hastings, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OncoMed. "The achievement in the small molecule program is further validation of this important cancer stem cell pathway and the successful alliance between Bayer and OncoMed. We look forward to the continued development of this promising new preclinical candidate."
About Cancer Stem Cells
Cancer stem cells, or CSCs, are the subpopulation of cells in a tumor responsible for driving growth and metastasis of the tumor. CSCs, also known as tumor-initiating cells, exhibit certain properties which include the capacity to divide and give rise to new CSCs via a process called self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate or change into the other cells that form the bulk of the tumor. Common cancer drugs target bulk tumor cells but have limited impact on CSCs, thereby providing a path for recurrence of the tumor. OncoMed's product candidates target CSCs by blocking self-renewal and driving differentiation of CSCs toward a non-tumorigenic state, and also impact bulk tumor cells. OncoMed believes its product candidates are distinct from the current generations of chemotherapies and targeted therapies, and have the potential to significantly impact cancer treatment and the clinical outcome of patients with cancer.
About OncoMed Pharmaceuticals
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs). OncoMed has five anti-cancer product candidates in clinical development, including demcizumab (anti-DLL4, OMP-21M18), tarextumab (anti-Notch2/3, OMP-59R5), anti-Notch1 (OMP-52M51), vantictumab (anti-FZD7, OMP-18R5), and ipafricept (FZD8-Fc, OMP-54F28), which target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch and Wnt. OncoMed has two other antibodies in preclinical development, anti-DLL4/anti-VEGF bispecific (OMP-305B83) and anti-RSPO3 (OMP-131R10), with Investigational New Drug filings planned for late 2014 or early 2015. OncoMed is also pursuing discovery of additional novel anti-CSC and cancer immunotherapy product candidates. OncoMed has formed strategic alliances with Celgene Corporation, Bayer Pharma AG and GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK). Additional information can be found at the company's website:
To the extent that statements contained in this press release are not descriptions of historical facts regarding OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, they are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including OncoMed's expectations regarding the advancement of the small molecule inhibitor of the Wnt pathway in preclinical and clinical development; OncoMed's ability to advance vantictumab and ipafricept in Phase 1b clinical trials; the success of OncoMed's collaboration with Bayer; the potential for OncoMed's anti-CSC product candidates to significantly impact cancer treatment and the clinical outcome of patients with cancer; and the timing of Investigational New Drug filings for OncoMed's anti-DLL4/anti-VEGF bispecific and anti-RSPO3 antibodies. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause OncoMed's clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the preclinical and clinical development process; the risks and uncertainties of the regulatory approval process; OncoMed's dependence on its collaboration partners, including Celgene, GSK and Bayer, for the funding of its partnered programs; OncoMed's ability to raise additional capital to support the development of its unpartnered programs; OncoMed's dependence on the development and marketing efforts of its partners for the commercial success of its partnered product candidates; OncoMed's reliance on third parties to conduct certain preclinical studies and all of its clinical trials; OncoMed's reliance on single source third-party contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture and supply its product candidates; OncoMed's ability to validate, develop and obtain regulatory approval for companion diagnostics; OncoMed's ability to achieve market acceptance and commercial success of its product candidates once regulatory approval is achieved; OncoMed's ability to discover, develop and commercialize additional product candidates; the ability of competitors to discover, develop or commercialize competing products more quickly or more successfully; OncoMed's dependence on its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, its Chief Scientific Officer, its Chief Medical Officer and other key executives; risk of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate OncoMed's patents or proprietary rights; and the ability of OncoMed's proprietary rights to protect its technologies and product candidates. OncoMed undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to OncoMed's business in general, see OncoMed's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 18, 2014, OncoMed's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2014, filed with the SEC on May 8, 2014, and OncoMed's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2014, filed with the SEC on August 7, 2014.
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