Ablynx of Belgium is teaming up with Norway's Algeta to discover and develop novel cancer therapeutics using both companies’ proprietary technologies.

Specifically, the firms will evaluate a novel targeted thorium conjugate (TTC) based on combining Algeta’s thorium-227 alpha-pharmaceutical payload with Ablynx' nanobodies, a class of antibody-derived therapeutic proteins. They will contribute undisclosed resources towards the collaboration, which is expected to last for up to a year initially with the option for extension.

Andreas Menrad, chief scientific officer at Ablynx, said that "our nanobodies have the potential to selectively and efficiently deliver Algeta’s thorium-227 to the site of the tumour. We are very excited about combining our unique and powerful technology with Algeta’s leading payload expertise to search for breakthrough opportunities in oncology.”

Thomas Ramdahl, chief technology officer at the Oslo-based firm, noted that the collaboration is the fifth TTC programme to be disclosed by Algeta. He added that thorium-227 "has the potential to provide higher potency and more effective delivery over other therapeutic payloads".

These are interesting times for Algeta which is waiting, along with partner Bayer, to file its prostate cancer drug Alpharadin (radium-223) by the end of the year. Its commercial production facility for the treatment was completed during the third quarter.

As for Ablynx, last month it entered into a nanobody collaboration with Merck & Co which could be worth over 450 million euros.