The complex nature of cancer means that scientists are having to get creative to improve diagnosis and treatment. Experts in the field of oncology ‘theranostics’ (combined therapeutic and diagnostic solutions), Clarity Pharmaceuticals (ASX: CU6) is due to make it’s ASX debut today.
Clarity has raised $92 million at $1.40 per share. Upon listing their indicative market cap will be $358.6 million.
The Australian based clinical-stage radiopharmaceutical company is working to develop products for use in diagnosis and therapy of cancers affecting both children and adults. Their proprietary SAR technology uses copper radioisotopes to deliver superior imaging and precision therapy.
Founded in 2010, the Company integrated licenses of intellectual property from The University of Melbourne and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation to develop their platform.
The Company’s first clinical product, SARTATE began Phase 1 trials in 2015, successfully demonstrating its ability to target and better visualise cancer. Following diagnostic trial success, SARTATE entered into a therapeutics focused trial in children with neuroblastoma, an aggressive childhood cancer of immature nerve tissue. Promising results in this area of cancer treatment formed the basis for Clarity’s targeted copper theranostics (TCT) SAR platform.
Clarity’s science is built around copper isotopes which they link to a target molecule via chelators. Chelators act as cages to retain copper isotopes to prevent their leakage into the body. The target molecule finds and binds to tumour specific receptors on the surface of cancer cells. Having found the cancer cell, the linked copper isotope acts as a beacon, allowing for specialised imaging machines to pinpoint the exact location of cancer cells.
The copper isotope also enables treatment of the disease by targeting and killing specific cancer cells through radiation.
This isn’t a new concept. Radioisotopes are an essential part of many medical diagnostic procedures, with physicians in the 1950s using nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat conditions such as thyroid disease. The use of radioisotopes in therapy is however, a relatively new concept and is primarily being looked at for the treatment of malignancies.
Whilst numerous cancer therapies do exist, there are many undeniably and overwhelmingly negative side effects stemming from blasting the entire body with chemotherapy drugs or radiation. Targeted, sophisticated therapies are the next phase of fine tuning our response to cancer.
Additional products are now in Clarity’s pipeline: SAR-Bombesin and SARbisPSMA, for management and treatment of breast and prostate cancers. These drugs are progressing through Phase 1 studies. The Company is aiming to target the lucrative US market for first product approvals.
Given the complexities of cancer and the vigorous approval process for drugs as well as their lack of profitability means an investment in Clarity does carry a considerable amount of risk, but with upside to potentially disrupt the USD $5.9 billion radiotherapy market.
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