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Jussi Halleen - CEO, Pharmatest Services

Pharmatest launches the first novel humanized mouse model of tumor growth in bone suitable for testing immunotherapies

Pharmatest Services Ltd has developed in collaboration with Taconic Biosciences a novel humanized mouse model of tumor growth in bone that can be used for testing immunotherapies. Testing compound efficacy in bone microenvironment should decrease substantially the very high number of cancer drugs currently failing in clinical trials due to poor efficacy.

Pharmatest Services Ltd (Pharmatest) is a contract research organization that offers preclinical efficacy services for the pharmaceutical industry in the fields of oncology and skeletal diseases. In oncology Pharmatest has special expertise in models of bone metastasis. Taconic Biosciences is a fully-licensed, global leader in genetically engineered rodent models and services.

Bone metastases are common and increase mortality in many cancers such as breast, prostate and lung cancers, and multiple myeloma. Bone microenvironment changes tumor properties and induces drug resistance. Thus, showing compound efficacy in the commonly used subcutaneous cell line based and patient-derived xenograft models may not translate into efficacy when the tumor is in bone, leading to lack of efficacy in cancers where bone metastases increase mortality.

Immunotherapies have proven efficacy on many primary tumors in preclinical studies. Bone provides an essential and natural site for testing immunomodulators, as bone marrow is the reservoir of hematopoietic stem cells, the precursors of all immune cells. The now established humanized mouse model of tumor growth in bone includes the functional human immune system, which allows its use in confirming efficacy of immunomodulators in the bone microenvironment. It is the first validated model from an ongoing large R&D program in Pharmatest for developing humanized mouse models of bone metastasis in collaboration with Taconic Biosciences.

Jussi Halleen, CEO of Pharmatest comments: “I am very excited about the ongoing collaboration with Taconic for establishing humanized bone metastasis models. Currently, a very high number of cancer drugs fail in clinical trials due to poor efficacy. One important reason for this in cancers that develop bone metastases is that drug efficacy has not been confirmed in preclinical models where the tumor cells are in bone. Our novel humanized mouse models provide a completely new tool for this purpose, and they should dramatically decrease drug development costs and increase the speed and number of truly efficacious new therapies entering clinical practice.”

The first humanized mouse model of tumor growth in bone was presented as a late-breaking poster in the AACR Annual Meeting 2017, and in more detail in a scientific webinar on April 25.