REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 25, 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 granted OncoMed its third broad U.S. patent relating to antibodies that target the RSPO-LGR pathway, which is believed to be an important CSC pathway. The new patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,540,989, covers methods of treating cancer with antibodies that bind human R-spondin (RSPO) proteins and either disrupt the binding of such proteins to their receptors, the leucine-rich repeat-containing G-coupled receptors (LGRs), or disrupt RSPO activation of LGR signaling. The new patent is based on key discoveries by OncoMed scientists that RSPO proteins signal through the LGR receptor family and that antibodies that disrupt binding of RSPO proteins to LGRs or that disrupt RSPO activation of LGR signaling are potential anti-cancer agents. OncoMed has identified multiple antibodies targeting the RSPO-LGR pathway and demonstrated the activity of these antibodies in preclinical studies. OncoMed plans to file an Investigational New Drug filing on its first antibody targeting the RSPO-LGR pathway in as early as 2014. OncoMed has worldwide rights to all of its RSPO-LGR pathway programs. Two broad composition-of-matter patents related to the new patent were previously granted in the U.S. to OncoMed. The composition-of-matter patents cover human, humanized, and chimeric monoclonal antibodies that disrupt binding of RSPO proteins to LGRs or disrupt RSPO activation of LGR signaling. The claimed antibodies include both anti-RSPO antibodies and anti-LGR antibodies. Related patent applications are currently pending in the U.S., Europe, Japan, Canada, and Australia. OncoMed's patent portfolio also includes additional patent applications directed towards antibodies that target the RSPO-LGR pathway. "The RSPO-LGR pathway is increasingly considered to be one of the key pathways regulating cancer stem cells," said Paul J. Hastings, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of OncoMed. "The grant of this additional anti-RSPO antibody patent to OncoMed further strengthens OncoMed's intellectual property position in the U.S. for antibodies targeting this key cancer stem cell pathway, including OncoMed's own anti-RSPO antibody programs."
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 antibodies targeting the RSPO-LGR pathway and for its other product candidates in the U.S. and additional countries; the success of clinical trials for OncoMed's product candidates; the potential of OncoMed's product candidates to significantly impact CSCs, cancer treatment and the clinical outcome of patients with cancer; 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 Chairman 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 and OncoMed's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2013, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 3, 2013.
CONTACT: Investor Contact: OncoMed Pharmaceuticals Shari Annes Investor Relations (650) 888-0902 firstname.lastname@example.org Media Inquiries: BCC Partners Karen L. Bergman or Michelle Corral (650) 575-1509 or (415) 794-8662 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org