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Advancell gets green light to test new leukaemia treatment in Spain

By 7 de March de 2008November 18th, 2020No Comments
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Advancell gets green light to test new leukaemia treatment in Spain

The biotech firm Advancell, which is located in the Barcelona Science Park, has got the green light from the Spanish Agency for Drugs and Health Products (AEMPS) to conduct the initial patient trials of a new treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, the type that is most common in the Western world. The clinical phase will be carried out at the Catalan Institute of Oncology as well as in Belgium and France. The total investment to develop the treatment may well top fifty million euros and the company expects results from the trials in 2009.

Unlike chemotherapies currently available for the disease, the new treatment has shown in in-vitro tests that it can eliminate cancerous white blood cells with minimal toxicity to healthy ones. This selectivity translates into a potential reduction in the risk of infection and other side effects caused by the existing treatments.

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia is a disease that affects some 300,000 people in the world, and roughly 40% of the cases involve people over 65 years of age. In Spain, 1,800 new cases are diagnosed each year and the survival rate is highly variable, ranging from a few months to several decades.

In the words of Advancell’s Chief Executive Officer Lluís Ruiz-Ávila, the AEMPS go-ahead for clinical trials is a genuine milestone for translational research in Spain: “We are talking about an academic discovery coming out of collaboration between basic and clinical researchers. Their discovery has been patented and transferred to a company spun out of the same university, which in turn has developed it in compliance with all the strict requirements regulating the administration of new drugs to patients. What’s more, European Union status as an orphan drug has been granted to the new molecule, and international recognition has been won for an outside partner like the biopharmaceutical firm Protherics”.

The firm Advancell has two divisions: the Pharma division, focused on developing innovative drugs through research into new applications of already-known molecules; and the Services and Reactions division, using cell-based, in-vitro techniques to assay molecules under development for their efficacy, safety and mechanism of action. The company’s business model is based on a methodology that leads to a considerable reduction in the costs, risks and development timescales of new drugs.