OTTAWA–Radioisotope company MDS Nordion recently announced an R&D agreement with Dallas-based Macrocyclics to develop bifunctional chelates for use in molecular imaging and targeted therapeutic applications. The chelates will be used to anchor radioisotopes to biological targeting molecules such as antibodies and peptides.
Exact terms of the three-year deal are confidential, but will focus on the development of novel chelate structures, linkers and conjugation chemistries to be made available to the research community by Macrocyclics, says Russ Redshaw, MDS Nordion's director of nuclear medicine therapeutic products.
"The perfect chelate for all radiopharmaceutical applications doesn't exist," he says. "In helping companies with our radiolabelling services, we saw a need, and since Macrocyclics has shown leadership in serving the research community with chelates and has a strong scientific team, we approached them."
"The timing was right for us to come together," adds Meagan Skarbek, Macrocyclics business manager. "With this collaboration, MDS Nordion will be able to offer a more 'full-service' package to customers, providing a wide range of R&D support, while Macrocyclics gets a boost to its R&D budget, allowing us to spend more man-hours developing new products."
According to Redshaw, MDS Nordion is interested in enabling growth in radionuclide-based molecular imaging and radiotherapeutics by collaborating with Macrocyclics to develop new bifunctional chelates that overcome limitations of the current chelates. It plans to make these proprietary chelates available for commercial development as part of its radiopharmaceutical services offering.
Skarbek sees the chelate conjugation method as being critical to the future success of therapeutic targeting. "It is our belief that bifunctional chelates allow a more effective approach," she says. "They allow targeted agents to be designed in a modular approach, greatly increasing the scope and variety of targeted agents that can now be synthesized and tested."
"We believe that radiopharmaceutical-based molecular imaging is a useful tool for drug development that will continue to be adopted by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies," Renshaw says. "This will be particularly true for PET-based radionuclides, but we believe that SPECT will continue to grow in specific applications. Moreover, we believe that a result of greater use of radiopharmaceutical-based molecular imaging in drug development will be an opportunity for new imaging diagnostics for screening and selection of patients."