Advanced Proteome Therapeutics Corp
April 15, 2013 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Advanced Proteome Therapeutics Corp is focused on developing a Protein Therapeutic that is Targeted and Combines Multiple Anti-Cancer Therapies for Greater Potency, Higher Specificity and Less Toxicity than Individual Therapies
About Advanced Proteome Therapeutics Corp (TSXV: APC):
Advanced Proteome has developed a patent-pending technology that combines multiple anti-cancer therapies in a single agent to directly target cancer tumors. This type of agent, carrying multiple anti-cancer therapies, provides a basis for greater potency, higher specificity, and less toxicity than individual therapies that can also attack healthy cells.
Proteome Therapeutics Corp
Advanced Proteome Therapeutics Corp
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – April 15, 2013
CEOCFO: Mr. Krantz, would you tell us the vision for Advanced Proteome Therapeutics?
Mr. Krantz: We are trying to bring about an innovative technology directed towards cancer therapeutics which we feel will leapfrog us ahead of the competition, and advance the field in terms of the type of drug that the industry would ideally like to create as a protein therapeutic. No doubt protein therapeutics that are on the market now, are having positive impact, particularly the antibody drug-conjugate (ADC). However, if you consider the composition of the product, it is a pretty crude reagent, and in many ways not consistent with the way scientists would like to develop a drug, at least according to traditional criteria for small molecules. Development is much harder with a protein therapeutic like an ADC because of the difficulty of knowing exactly what its composition is and how to improve it as a drug candidate. Our vision is to create protein therapeutics that are not only targeted to cancer cells, but also to deliver multiple therapies in a single, homogeneous molecule whose structure is well-characterized. In essence, we are seeking to expand Paul Ehrlich’s “magic bullet concept” into the “multiple warhead concept” in the war on cancer, by systematically varying the structures of prototype molecules that we have designed and are accessible via our enabling technology.
CEOCFO: Would you simplify it for us?
Mr. Krantz: Yes. The best way to think about cancer therapeutics is in terms of attributes. Some of these attributes have not been realized. There are three attributes that are desirable. We want to be able to specifically target the cancer cells with drugs that will destroy such cells. You do not want to destroy healthy cells; at least in abundance, because the cure may be worse than the disease. It is also desirable to use combination therapy: more than one drug at a time. That is because cancer cells and tumors are quite heterogeneous and more than one drug may be needed to control the disease. Thirdly, and this may be the hardest part of it, a homogeneous agent is most desirable: a single pure agent, as opposed to a mixture. One reason is that it is much easier to develop a drug when you can correlate improvements with systematic changes in the drug’s structure. That is the way small molecule drugs have been developed. Changes are made systematically, ultimately leading to the mix of properties that are deemed desirable. With protein therapeutics this type of protocol has not been applicable. That is because it is much more difficult to develop a chemistry around proteins. Overall, our technology is based on the “foundation trinity”, which is the idea of having targeted therapy, combination therapy, and homogeneous therapy, all rolled up into one package. There have been very important strides in targeted therapy of proteins to cancer cells; but it is still very difficult to attach more than one drug to a protein and know exactly where they are placed to provide combination therapy in a single agent. Indeed, it is exceedingly difficult to generate a pure substance by conjugating drugs to a protein. Therefore, our goal is to evolve the foundation trinity, to exploit those three very important aspects: targeted therapy that does not affect healthy cells so negatively that the cure is worse than the disease; combination therapy so that a number of drugs can be combined in a single, homogeneous agent of known composition so that a much cleaner drug can be developed.
CEOCFO: Have people tried to put this all together in the past?
Mr. Krantz: No! Proteins as therapeutics are relatively recent concepts and events. It has only been about three decades since the biotech industry emerged. Initially, single unmodified proteins were deployed as potential therapies. Then people understood that many proteins by themselves were of limited utility and enhancements were necessary, e.g., to increase their duration of action, through attachments to the protein framework. However, it is very difficult to attach an entity to the same spot in each protein. The ability to analyze or recognize what you have done when you modify a protein is nowhere nearly as easy as it is with small molecules. That art is evolving rather slowly, to this day. Scientists are trying to invent site-specific modifications to place attachments in the same spot on each protein therapeutic. The industry would rather avoid working with heterogeneous mixtures; if you have a whole mix of different molecules, then you have a whole mix of things with different properties, any one of which could be a problem in terms of allergy, in terms of immunity, in terms of other forms of toxicity, and if something goes wrong during development it is exceedingly difficult, maybe almost impossible currently, to unravel what went wrong when you are dealing with a mixture. Indeed, it is our enabling technology, with its powerful site-specific protocols that provides a competitive advantage in implementing the “Foundation Trinity”.
CEOCFO: Has the medical community noticed what you are doing?
Mr. Krantz: We have maintained a low profile to date because we are still in the process of choosing the kinds of entities that we would like to bring forward for testing as drug candidates. We have a number that we consider to be prime targets for the clinic. However, we do not advertise our progress, because we are not really at the point at which we want to reveal “exactly” what we are doing; just “generally” what we are doing. We have just started to talk in terms of ” the war on cancer”, with our company essentially trying to expand the idea of the “magic bullet” as a single drug targeted for a cell, to the “multiple warhead” concept, where you have a number of drugs bundled together in a single unit of known composition. This concept and our associated technologies have begun to resonate with scientists and investors alike, as it is an entirely rational approach, consistent with the way drugs have traditionally been developed.
CEOCFO: You recently put out a plan for the next six months or so. What are the next steps?
Mr. Krantz: The next steps for us at this point are to decide which one of the molecules that we are making has the best potential as an anti-cancer agent. We want to move forward with all deliberate speed. These molecules are novel and require site-specific modifications of the protein in order to be prepared. We have been able to develop protein modification technologies that enable us to do these things. We think that we are very advanced in that regard. Currently, we are applying our enabling technology to the preparation of a number of entities whose properties against cancer cells we expect to determine over the next few months. Appropriate arrangements for testing have been made in the labs of world renowned investigators.
CEOCFO: Is Advanced Proteome funded to get through those steps?
Mr. Krantz: Yes. We should be able to accomplish our objectives. There are various scenarios, but assuming everything goes “According to Hoyle”, we should be able to get through successfully.
CEOCFO: How long have you been listed on the Venture Exchange in Canada? Why the decision to list there?
Mr. Krantz: We have been listed on the Venture Exchange since the end of 2006. I had spent twelve years associated with the Syntex Corporation near Toronto managing a high profile group that I established which used enzymes as drug targets. Because of my Canadian presence, I had gotten to know a number of people in the scientific establishment in Canada, as well as some investors. I was introduced to some investors in Vancouver in 2006 and they were interested in starting up a company in biotechnology and were fascinated with the technology that I proposed and funded it. It has been an extremely supportive and very comfortable arrangement so far.
CEOCFO: What do you bring to the table from previous ventures that you see as most helpful as you have been developing this company and this concept?
Mr. Krantz: Many things, but an important aspect is flexibility as well as project design and management. Companies have to get promising molecules to the clinic as soon as possible, but you need to be able to make rapid adjustments based on testing. Preclinical testing is where you learn about the potential and limitations of your molecular assets. You also want to have as many “shots on goal” as possible as you move forward to development and incorporate the most current information into a rapidly changing landscape. The overall design of the project is extremely important in terms of being able to maneuver to generate drugs with the best set of properties and having enough “runway” to be able to succeed.
CEOCFO: Why should Advanced Proteome Therapeutics stand out for investors and people in the business community?
In terms of the needs and traditions of the field, our vision
is likely to be a winning approach. We incorporate design motifs that have
been the essential elements of successful drug development. Protein
conjugates because of their size and limited range of stability have been
difficult to develop. As a consequence, it has been harder to incorporate
features that will enable the systematic development of a drug and lead to
the best mix of properties. The field in many ways is still in its infancy
and we are trying to position the company with our technology, to allow us
to “leapfrog” beyond the competition. Our mantra, “not only targeted
therapy, but combination and homogeneous therapy, as well” is the
pharmaceutical equivalent of “God, Mother, Country” and should appeal to
“Currently, we are applying our enabling technology to the preparation of a number of entities whose properties against cancer cells we expect to determine over the next few months. “- Allen Krantz
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