Actinium Pharmaceuticals Inc.: Fighting Cancer with Antibody Directed Target Radiotherapy

Sandesh Seth , CEO

For the longest time, radiotherapy and chemotherapy have masqueraded as the only available means for treating cancer. Nearly 80 percent of all cancer patients tend to be in the 50+ demo-graphic, with the rate of incident increasing with age. As people get older, the body becomes further weakened to cope with chemotherapy, which is non-targeted and has a lot of side effects.

It is widely understood then that radiotherapy and chemo are more akin to nuking or carpet bombing a region, than sniping the actual components of the disease. The latter is more closely comparable to the use of Antibody Drug Conjugates (ADCs), which has emerged as a novel and effective modality in cancer therapeutics. ADCs are Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) to which cancer drugs are attached with the help of biochemical linkers. The idea is to take advantage of the specificity provided by monoclonal antibodies to achieve targeted delivery of the drug to cancer cells.

ADCs have been compared to target-bound missile systems to which a drug payload has been at-tached. As a result, they are sometimes called armed antibodies or empowered antibodies. Just as in its response to microorganisms and other triggers, the body’s immune system produces unique antibodies against cancer cells and the biochemical mediators they synthesize. These antibodies coat the surfaces of the cancer cells where they initiate complex cascades of reactions to kill the cancer cells. The concept of ADC rests on the fact that the specificity in targeting cancer cells offered by monoclonal antibodies, can be utilized to deliver payloads of cytotoxic cancer drugs mainly to the cancer cells.

We took an idea that was ahead of its time and we believe we are leading the space. In terms of our scientific pedigree, the company is world-class as are the institutions that we continue to work with

Once the ADC is inside the cancer cells, the cytotoxic drug payloads are cleaved off or released and subsequently exert their cell-killing effects. At the forefront of this development is Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing ARCs. It uses use internal radiation to fight cancer, by linking a radioactive isotope to the antibody and delivering it to the site of the cancer treatment. The solution can target both solid and other cancers, whether it is a lump in the body or blood cancers where external radiation cannot be used due to their distribution in the bloodstream.

Actinium's “targeted conditioning” approach, is intended to selectively kill patient’s cancer cells and certain immune cells prior to a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT), CAR-T and other cell therapies. The outcome is triple the rate of survival at one year and then a 20 percent increase to the per year rate. Where several patients die in about three to five months, this is truly a break-through therapy that Actinium is developing.

The company was formed about 20 years ago with the efforts and backing of world-class cancer research institutions and physicians across the United States. Sloan-Kettering, Fred Hutch, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and others are among the top cancer centers that have come together in this effort. “We took an idea that was ahead of its time and we believe we are leading the space. In terms of our scientific pedigree, the company is world-class as are the institutions that we continue to work with,” says Sandesh Seth, CEO of Actinium Inc.

Using a multi-disciplinary approach to analyzing and selecting the assets for such treatment combined with mechanistic synergies, Actinium can bring the very leading edge of medical science to the fore of oncology. With a team of expert medical physicists, cellular biologists, immunologists, and chemists, the company was able to elicit an 100 percent engraftment rate in its latest and on-going Phase 3 trial for its lead asset Iomab-B, an ARC comprised of the anti-CD45 mAb apamistamab and the radioisotope I-131. Actinium’s Iomab-ACT program uses lower doses of Iomab-B and is an expansion of the company’s strategic focus on targeted conditioning that brings it into the exciting field of gene therapy (GeneTx) and Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT) including CAR-T. The Iomab-ACT program builds on Actinium's expertise in targeted conditioning gained from its development of apamistamab-I-131 for bone marrow transplant (BMT) and is a natural progression of apamistamab-I-131 as conditioning is a critical step prior to bone marrow transplant, gene therapy and CAR-T. In each of these applications, the depletion of bone marrow stem cells, lymphocytes or disease or cancer cells is necessary for the new cells to engraft and the therapy to be successful. Current non-targeted chemotherapy and/or external radiation conditioning regimens are toxic, impair patients and restrict the use and efficacy of these potentially curative therapies. Actinium is committed to bringing its ARC targeted conditioning regimens to patients and advancing the fields of bone marrow transplant, GeneTx and ACT such as CAR-T.

The solution works by delivering very low doses of internalized radiation in combination with other drugs to make the drugs much more effective in the patient’s body, without compromising the safety of their health. Actimab CD33 combination program with Venetoclax and CLAG-M. The company’s current goal is to finish up the phase three trial and file for approval with the US FDA and get ready to start commercializing this drug into large cancer hospitals in the United States. Later, Actinium plans to move the other drugs forward into pivotal trials or the final stage of development, helping change the face of oncological medicine.