Bayer Schering to develop anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics with OncoMed Pharmaceuticals

Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Germany, today announced a global strategic alliance with leading cancer stem cell researcher OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc develop novel anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics targeting the Wnt signaling pathway.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bayer and OncoMed will develop antibodies, protein therapeutics, and small molecules as potential novel anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics targeting the Wnt signaling pathway.

The companies say the alliance was a major opportunity to discover and develop an entirely new class of anti-cancer stem cell therapeutics.Cancer stem cells are a subset of tumour cells believed to play a significant role in the establishment, metastasis and recurrence of cancer and agents targeting the Wnt pathway have the potential to be developed as pan-tumour drugs.

The alliance allows Bayer Schering Pharma the option to exclusively license antibody and protein therapeutic product candidates at any point up to the completion of Phase I testing.

OncoMed has established a rich pipeline of product candidates targeting a number of critical cancer stem cell pathways. Bayer and OncoMed will share technology and know-how to discover and develop small molecule inhibitors of the pathway.

''Anti-cancer stem cell research could turn out as one of the missing pieces in today's cancer therapy,'' says Prof. Andreas Busch, head of global drug discovery and member of the board of management at Bayer Schering Pharma.