Originally published May 9.
By Turna Ray
This article has been updated to include additional information from Biovista President Aris Persidis.
Biovista will use its Clinical Outcomes Search Space platform to uncover new indications for cancer treatments as part of a European personalized medicine project.
The project, called P-medicine, includes 19 partners from nine European countries and Japan and aims to create new infrastructure for integrating and sharing clinical trial data in order to discover new personalized medicine strategies. Under this €13.3 million ($19.1 million), four-year project co-funded by the European Community's 7th Framework Program, Biovista's EU affiliate has received $500,000 to use its COSS platform to analyze clinical data and identify personalized medicine opportunities.
According to the P-medicine website, the project partners aim to develop an open, modular framework of tools and services to facilitate the gradual adoption of personalized medicine into society.
The project is developing a system for the secure sharing of large personalized data sets as well as standardized tools for so-called "Virtual Physiological Human" multiscale simulations. Project participants plan to validate these tools in clinical trials for diseases that could benefit from the integration of multilevel datasets, such as the common childhood kidney cancer Wilms tumor, breast cancer, and leukemia.
Norbert Graf, director of the Clinic for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology at the University Clinic of Saarland, said in a statement that Biovista has identified potential biomarkers for Wilms tumor. "While significant advances have been achieved in the last few years, we are still facing challenges in the areas of resistant disease to conventional chemotherapy where new and intelligent approaches are needed," he said.
Biovista's COSS platform matches data about the mechanism of action of 90,000 drugs and compounds against the mechanism of action of 23,000 diseases and 6,000 drug-related adverse events. Biovista President Aris Persidis said that the COSS platform does pick up on "gene variances that on occasion help [the company] select drugs that are appropriate to specific patient groups."
Biovista is using the COSS platform to build its own portfolio of repositioned drugs. When picking repositioning candidates internally, the company looks for "biological plausibility" that treatments could have efficacy in new indications, for drugs about to lose patent exclusivity, and for drugs where the compound's new indication isn't patent protected.
The company's website notes that it is currently working on repurposing eight drugs for various eye conditions, four RNAi drugs in the area of diabetes and obesity, a dozen drugs for central nervous system conditions, several oncology drugs, treatments for autoimmune and infectious diseases, as well as 28 drugs that have come off patent or will come off patent between 2008 and 2012.
"All Biovista drugs include elements of PGx, as PGx sometimes helps to differentiate the mechanism of action between drugs," Persidis said, adding that he couldn't provide additional details due to agreements with collaborators.
Biovista has said it is negotiating drug repositioning deals with several top pharma companies. In November 2010, Biovista announced a collaboration with Pfizer to find new indications for several undisclosed compounds in Pfizer's pipeline. The firm inked a similar agreement to reposition undisclosed compounds in Novartis' pipeline at the end of April this year.
According to reports, the COSS platform has yielded positive preclinical results for a first-in-class unnamed multiple sclerosis treatment and an epilepsy drug. The platform has also shown "strong efficacy" in vitro in two oncology compounds targeting glioblastoma multiforme and melanoma.
The company "is working to attract further interest in our pipeline and also in helping our collaborators expand the use footprint of their pipelines," Persidis said. "As appropriate, Biovista will collaborate with PGx groups that can contribute novel insights that may help."
Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration has licensed part of Biovista's COSS technology to help it anticipate drug-related adverse events for compounds entering clinical trials.
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