AstraZeneca Highlights Collaboration with Phosphorex on use of Zetafinity® Technology to More Effectively Target Immune Cells
Hopkinton, Mass., October 8, 2019 – AstraZeneca provided an update on the company’s collaboration with Phosphorex at the recent Partnership Opportunities in Drug Delivery (PODD) conference. The ongoing collaboration is focused on use of Zetafinity® technology to target immune cells for immuno-oncology (IO) with a goal of generating pre-clinical data to support initiation of a clinical trial in 2022.
The presentation described how targeting immune cells instead of tumor cells could be a more amenable and robust approach for IO applications. Zetafinity® nanoparticles are engineered precisely for therapeutic immune modulation. The nanoparticles bind immune cells such as dendritic cells, macrophages, T cells and B cells via receptors expressed on their surfaces. Following binding to surface receptors, the nanoparticles are internalized via receptor mediated endocytosis, delivering the drug in a highly targeted manner.
One benefit of targeting immune cells is the generation of an abscopal effect, which is a phenomenon in the treatment of metastatic cancer where localized treatment of a tumor causes not only a shrinking of the treated tumor, but also a shrinking of tumors outside the scope of the localized treatment.
Julia Rashba-Step, PhD, Vice President of R&D and Alliance Management Shares Perspective on Future Outlook for Novel Drug Delivery
Dr. Rashba-Step participated in a panel session at PODD exploring novel approaches to drug delivery. The panel, which also featured experts from Pfizer, J&J, Sanofi and Battelle, explore the value of drug delivery technologies both to patients and pharma with a focus on the future direction of the field. The session included a review of the state of the art for traditional modalities such as small molecules and biologics and highlighted the challenges for less common modalities such as peptides and nucleic acids. The panel members discussed the potential scientific barriers for these future delivery technologies and the industry’s willingness to invest to address these barriers.