Pharma Focus Asia

Telix Pharmaceuticals and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) Enter into Collaboration and Option Agreement for Image-Guided Prostate Surgery

Monday, August 05, 2019

Telix Pharmaceuticals Limited, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of diagnostic and therapeutic products based on targeted radiopharmaceuticals or “molecularly-targeted radiation” (MTR) has today announced that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum or DKFZ) in the field of image-guided surgery for prostate cancer.

Researchers at DKFZ and Heidelberg University Clinic have developed a next-generation radiotracer based on 68Ga-PSMA-11 (currently under development by Telix as TLX591-CDx, marketed as illumetTM in the United States) that incorporates a fluorophore (a fluorescing agent) in addition to the ability to molecularly-target radiation for imaging with Positron Emission Tomography (PET). The result is a technology that can simultaneously image prostate cancer with PET as well as provide intra-operative surgical guidance through fluorescence (optical) imaging. Image-guided (fluorescence) imaging is a standard embedded feature of modern robotic surgery platforms (e.g. the Firefly® imaging system as part of the da Vinci® surgical robotics system by Intuitive Surgical), extensively used in urologic surgery worldwide.

Telix Group CEO Dr. Christian Behrenbruch stated, “The astonishing research of our colleagues at DKFZ and Heidelberg has tremendous potential in improving the quality and efficiency of using image-guided techniques for robotic surgery. To date, Telix has focused on using PSMA imaging in the post-prostatectomy biochemical recurrence setting. This collaboration will explore how the combination of PET and image-guided surgery can be used to improve outcomes during prostatectomy, further expanding the impact of molecular imaging in the management of prostate cancer.”

Under the terms of the collaboration, Telix will collaborate with DKFZ and affiliated researchers to conduct the necessary translational research studies to evaluate the technology in the surgical setting. The agreement includes a fully negotiated, exclusive option to license the technology for commercial development.  

The principal investigator at DKFZ, Dr. Ann-Christin Baranski, and who is also a scientist of the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK, partner location Freiburg) and the department of Nuclear Medicine (University Hospital Freiburg) added, “Our colleagues at Telix have made tremendous progress in commercializing PSMA-11 PET imaging, a technology that was originally developed here at DKFZ. To this end, Telix we feel Telix is an appropriate commercial partner for this novel technology and we look forward to working with the Telix team to evaluate the impact of this technology in patients in the near future.”

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