REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Aug. 22, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued U.S. Patent No. 8,507,442 to OncoMed for methods of treating cancer with its antibody vantictumab (OMP-18R5). Vantictumab targets and inhibits the Wnt pathway, which is believed to be an important CSC pathway. The patent expires in 2029. Vantictumab was originally identified at OncoMed from the HuCAL GOLD ® antibody library (MorphoSys AG) by binding to the Frizzled-7 receptor and was later determined by OncoMed to bind a novel epitope conserved across five different Frizzled receptors. Vantictumab has demonstrated broad anti-CSC and anti-tumor activity in patient-derived xenograft models and is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial where it has provided early signs of single-agent activity in patients with neuroendocrine tumors. The antibody is part of OncoMed's collaboration with Bayer Pharma AG. OncoMed previously received a U.S. patent claiming the composition of matter for vantictumab and has corresponding patents or pending patent applications covering vantictumab in fourteen additional countries and Europe. In addition, OncoMed has a robust patent portfolio of over 300 patents or pending patent applications, which includes multiple additional patent families related to vantictumab or its use. "OncoMed's new patent, together with its composition-of-matter patent, provides key patent coverage for vantictumab," said Paul Hastings, Chief Executive Officer of OncoMed. "The issuance of this patent also further validates the novelty of this promising antibody and the innovative nature of OncoMed's ongoing discovery programs, which have not only produced vantictumab, but also four other anti-CSC agents currently in clinical trials." About Vantictumab (OMP-18R5) Vantictumab is a first-in-class antibody that has shown broad anti-CSC and anti-tumor activity in patient-derived xenograft tumor models. Vantictumab inhibits a key signaling pathway in cancer, the Wnt pathway. Specifically, vantictumab selectively targets Frizzled receptors, which are activators of Wnt signaling. Although vantictumab was originally identified by binding to Frizzled 7, the antibody selectively targets five different Frizzled receptors. Vantictumab is currently being evaluated in a Phase 1 clinical trial. Vantictumab is part of OncoMed's collaboration with Bayer Pharma AG.
About Cancer Stem CellsCancer stem cells, or CSCs, are the subpopulation of cells in a tumor responsible for driving growth and metastasis of the tumor. CSCs, also known as tumor-initiating cells, exhibit certain properties which include the capacity to divide and give rise to new CSCs via a process called self-renewal and the capacity to differentiate or change into the other cells that form the bulk of the tumor. Common cancer drugs target bulk tumor cells but have limited impact on CSCs, thereby providing a path for recurrence of the tumor. OncoMed's product candidates target CSCs by blocking self-renewal and driving differentiation of CSCs toward a non-tumorigenic state, and also impact bulk tumor cells. OncoMed believes its product candidates are distinct from the current generations of chemotherapies and targeted therapies, and have the potential to significantly impact cancer treatment and the clinical outcome of patients with cancer. About OncoMed Pharmaceuticals OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells. OncoMed has five anti-cancer product candidates in clinical development, including demcizumab (Anti-DLL4, OMP-21M18), OMP-59R5 (Anti-Notch2/3), OMP-52M51 (Anti-Notch1), vantictumab (Anti-Fzd7, OMP-18R5), and OMP-54F28 (Fzd8-Fc), which target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch and Wnt. OncoMed has two other antibodies in preclinical development with Investigational New Drug filings planned for as early as 2014. OncoMed is also pursuing discovery of additional novel anti-CSC product candidates. OncoMed has formed strategic alliances with Bayer Pharma AG and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Additional information can be found at the company's website: www.oncomed.com. Forward-Looking Statements To the extent that statements contained in this press release are not descriptions of historical facts regarding OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, they are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including OncoMed's expectations regarding the scope, validity, enforceability and duration of patent protection afforded by the referenced patents and OncoMed's other intellectual property; OncoMed's ability to successfully enforce its intellectual property and defend it against challenges by third parties; OncoMed's ability to obtain additional patent protection for vantictumab and its other product candidates in the U.S. and additional countries; the success of clinical trials for vantictumab and the potential of vantictumab to improve patient outcomes, particularly in neuroendocrine patients; the potential of OncoMed's product candidates to significantly impact CSCs, cancer treatment and the clinical outcome of patients with cancer; the success of OncoMed's discovery efforts in producing novel therapeutic agents; and the timing of Investigational New Drug filings. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause OncoMed's clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the preclinical and clinical development process; the risks and uncertainties of the regulatory approval process; OncoMed's dependence on its collaboration partners, including GSK and Bayer, for the funding of its partnered programs; OncoMed's ability to raise additional capital to support the development of its unpartnered programs; OncoMed's dependence on the development and marketing efforts of its partners for the commercial success of its partnered product candidates; OncoMed's reliance on third parties to conduct certain preclinical studies and all of its clinical trials; OncoMed's reliance on single source third-party contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture and supply its product candidates; OncoMed's ability to validate, develop and obtain regulatory approval for companion diagnostics; OncoMed's ability to achieve market acceptance and commercial success of its product candidates once regulatory approval is achieved; OncoMed's ability to discover, develop and commercialize additional product candidates; the ability of competitors to discover, develop or commercialize competing products more quickly or more successfully; OncoMed's dependence on its President and Chief Executive Officer, its Chief Scientific Officer, its Chief Medical Officer and other key executives; risk of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate OncoMed's patents or proprietary rights; and the ability of OncoMed's proprietary rights to protect its technologies and product candidates. OncoMed undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to OncoMed's business in general, see OncoMed's Prospectus filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 18, 2013.
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