BIOSPAIN is the largest biotech event organized by a national bioindustry association in Europe, and one of the largest in the world in terms of the number of companies participating. The program includes trending topics like immunotherapy, cell therapy, drug-resistant infections and identification of biomarkers, and 34% of attending delegates arrive from nations outside of Spain.
Today, BIOSPAIN is the 5th largest partnering in biotechnology in the world, and they have shined light on innovative companies poised to impact health through biotechnology.
This year one of the companies under the spotlight is PharmaMar.
Headquartered in Madrid, PharmaMar is a world-leading biopharmaceutical company in the discovery and development of innovative marine-derived anticancer drugs. PharmaMar recently held its IPO on the BME Spanish stock exchange last November. It also struck deals with Taiho (Japan) and Janssen (US).
Armed with an interesting strategy for drug discovery, the oncology-focused company tests the effects of chemical compounds from marine organisms on tumor cells. This approach already yielded one approved candidate, and PharmaMar was present at ASCO 2016 to show one of its early-stage candidates.
“Our strong commitment to oncology translational research along with our deep understanding of the marine biodiversity of our oceans is placing us at the head of marine biotechnology.” -PharmaMar mission
Specializing in antitumor treatment, PharmaMar's latest product is called YONDELIS®* (trabectedin). This compound is a marine organism-derived antitumoral agent discovered in the colonial tunicate Ecteinascidia turbinata. It is now produced synthetically to treat soft tissue sarcoma, as described below:
Soft tissue sarcoma is a type of cancer that begins in the soft tissues of your body. Soft tissues connect, support and surround other body structures. The soft tissues include muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons and the lining of your joints. Many types of soft tissue sarcoma exist. Some types are more likely to affect children, while others affect mostly adults. Soft tissue sarcoma can occur anywhere in your body, but the most common types occur in the abdomen and in the arms and legs.
Trabectedin is another innovative antitumor agent, originally derived from the sea squirt, Ecteinascidia turbinata. The drug exerts its activity by targeting the transcriptional machinery and impairing DNA repair. It has been approved in nearly 80 countries in rfour major continents for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcomas as a single-agent and for relapsed ovarian cancer in combination with DOXIL®/CAELYX® (doxorubicin HCl liposome injection) in the European Union.