Aikido Pharma has secured an early investment in Convergent Therapeutics, Inc. Convergent Therapeutics, Inc. is a startup pharmaceutical company focused on developing next generation radiopharmaceutical therapy for prostate cancer and other applications. Its proprietary technology involves dual-targeted radionuclide therapy developed by Dr. Neil Bander, Professor of Urologic Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine (“WCM”) and licensed to Convergent by Cornell University (“Cornell”).
The cornerstone of Convergent’s dual-targeted radionuclide technology is Cornell’s proprietary drug, CONV 01-α, a monoclonal antibody conjugated with 225Ac, a radioactive alpha particle emitter developed at WCM and licensed to Convergent. CONV 01-α was specifically designed to bind to the prostate-specific membrane antigen (“PSMA”). A key functional feature of CONV 01-α is that, once bound to PSMA, it becomes internalized, thereby delivering its powerful radioactive payload directly into the prostate cancer cells. If FDA-approved, CONV 01-α would be the first antibody approved to direct a radioisotope to prostate cancer, and the first drug approved for the use of 225Ac in cancer treatment.
Convergent Therapeutics Inc, via merger with legacy entities, has secured developmental and commercialization rights to CONV 01 and CONV 01-alpha. Discussions with Cornell University regarding the securing of additional rights to the dual-targeted therapy approach (which adds a second molecule that also contains a radioactive isotope) are presently ongoing. In this proprietary therapy, the second molecule has several key features:
- Like CONV 01-α, it binds specifically to the PSMA receptor on prostate cancer cells. But it binds to a different epitope of PSMA, allowing both drugs to bind PSMA simultaneously and noncompetitively.
- It has a different, non-overlapping biodistribution in the body than does CONV 01-α, reducing additive toxicity to healthy tissue when both drugs are administered.
- When both CONV 01-α and the second molecule are bound to PSMA, CONV 01-α still causes the internalization of the PSMA, so the radioactive payloads of both CONV 01-α and the second molecule are delivered into the cancer cells.
These key features allow for a more powerful treatment than using CONV 01-α alone, while minimizing double damage to healthy tissues.
WCM is presently conducting several investigator-initiated trials in human prostate cancer patients to determine which of its proprietary treatment regimens will provide the greatest efficacy with the least toxicity, additional information on these on-going trials may be found at clinicaltrials.gov.