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Catalan biotechnology firm Mosaic Biomedicals, a spin-off of the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology founded by Dr. Joan Seoane, Dr. Judit Anido and Dr. Josep Baselga, has announced its upcoming merger with Canadian firm Northern Biologics to accelerate development of a new antibody that attacks a protein responsible for the spread of cancer (MSC-1) and to begin clinical trials at several leading hospitals in Europe and the United States in 2017.

Furthermore, San Francisco-based venture capital firm Versant Ventures has increased its investment in Mosaic and biopharmaceutical company Celgene has exercised its option to acquire rights to the MSC-1 program, through an agreement it had with Northern Biologics.

As explained Dr. Joan Seoane, head of Translational Research at VHIO, thanks to these transactions the company has raised the funds it needs to start clinical development of the antibody and to create a portfolio of other therapeutic antibodies in the preclinical phase.

Seoane has joined the company’s board of directors, while Dr. Anido will stay on as part of the executive team and Dr. Josep Baselga will act as president and senior medical advisor to the scientific advisory board of the new company created through this merger. “This deal is an unprecedented opportunity for Mosaic to make the most of its potential with support from strategic partners,” says Dr. Judit Anido.

The compound Mosaic Biomedicals is developing is a first-in-class antibody for LIF, a pleiotropic cytokine that is overexpressed in certain solid tumors. LIF promotes cancer progression by regulating the microenvironment of the tumor and the tumor-initiating cells.

Mosaic Biomedicals was created in 2012 and its stakeholders include the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR). 

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