DexTech Medical AB was founded in 2004 by Dr Anders R Holmberg, DMSci, and chemistry engineer, CEO and member of the board, and Dr Sten Nilsson, Professor of Oncology and board member.
DexTech develops candidate medications with applications within urological oncology, mainly for prostate cancer. The company has a strong clinical base with valuable specialist competence from research laboratory and production to clinical oncology. Research and development are cost-effectively run through collaboration with a global network.
Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men in the western world. Around 25% of prostate cancer patients develop incurable castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC1) with with skeletal metastasis. There are only a few approved medications on the market at this time able to extend the lifetime of such patients. After a limited period, the patient will develop resistance to the medication given, requiring a new medication to relieve pain and extend lifetime. Consequently, the various medications within this therapy field are more complementary than competitive, as each one can extend life and improve quality of life for the patient. Every one of these medications has – or is expected to achieve – sales of over 1 billion USD p.a. and are referred to as ‘blockbusters’.
The growth for medications against prostate cancer is expected to be 10.1% per year up to 2019. If so, the market will grow from USD 4.1 billion in 2012 to 8 billion in 2019. Growth is expected to primarily be driven by an increased rate of occurrence of prostate cancer, arising from longer life expectancy and the launch of new products for treatment2.
Four candidate medications
The company’s main candidate, OsteoDex, for treatment of skeletal metastases in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) has been successfully studied in a clinical phase I / I I trial (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01595087). This trial forms the basis for an ongoing phase IIb (efficacy) study. SomaDex, a drug candidate based on the natural hormone somatostatin, is intended for treatment of acromegaly, neuroendocrine tumors and palliative treatment of CRPC. CatDex is a preclinical drug candidate for instillation therapy of superficial urinary bladder cancer. PSMADex is a drug candidate to be used as a carrier molecule for target-specific treatment of cancer cells expressing PSMA (prostate-specific membrane antigen). Preclinical data show that PSMADex binds specifically to PSMA positive prostate cancer cells. The aim is to use PSMADex for intravenous injection for imaging (Positron emission tomography, PET) and target-specific treatment (radionuclide / drug) of prostate cancer.
Of the above-mentioned drug candidates, OsteoDex is the subject of the company’s main focus.
The potential for OsteoDex is significant, because the need for new, active medications is very large and because this particular product – in contrast to chemotherapy for example – has proven to be very tolerable. The latter aspect is important for the product to be given to CRPC patients who are sensitive to the adverse effects of treatment. Our preclinical studies have also clearly shown that OsteoDex has a lot of potential for treatment of advanced breast cancer with skeletal metastasis. Preclinical results in animals indicated that OsteoDex may also have significant activity against soft tissue lesions.
Our results so far have provoked substantial interest from several major drug companies, some of which have been in contact for information on OsteoDex. This is a strong indication of the potential and value that OsteoDex can be expected to achieve. The value of a licensing agreement after a phase IIb study when the results shows good treatment efficacy is deemed to be high.
1 Castration resistant prostate cancer, CRPC
2 Companies and Markets, “Prostate Cancer Therapeutics Market to 2019”