The biopharmaceuticals group said that during the period, it had filed a patent for a new type of humanised mouse with a "chimeric mouse-human blood system" and had signed a development agreement, as well as receiving first data results, in relation to its CDX antibodies.
"Overall the board is very pleased with the progress being made, in particular the unlocking of opportunities for CDX antibodies, as well as the potential value that can be created through the company's new type of humanised mice," executive chairman Marc Feldmann said in a statement.
"Hemogenyx is confident that these humanised mice will be of interest to large biopharmaceutical companies and has the potential to form the basis of significant future collaborations and the company hopes to update shareholders on progress in this area," he added.
The group posted a pretax loss of £0.65mln in the six months to the end of June, up from a loss of £0.14mln a year ago, hit by administrative costs, which more than trebled to £0.7mln. The company’s therapies are still under development meaning the company is yet to produce any revenue.
Blood cancers hard to treat
Blood cancers are some of the most difficult to treat forms of the killer disease.
They take three major forms: Leukaemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma, all of which involve problems in a person’s bone marrow, the source of the cells in our blood - red, white or platelets.
The current standard of care treatment involves chemotherapy and radiotherapy and ultimately, in recurring cases, a bone marrow transplant.
Two major problems
All current treatments are dangerous, highly toxic and debilitating, with serious side effects.
Indeed, so traumatic is the transplant option that many patients are rejected on the grounds that they will not survive the conditioning process.
After that comes the problem of finding a donor.
Hemogenyx has developed products that deal with both problems and offer the possibility of transforming the current treatments for blood cancers, says Sandler.
Partially based around work undertaken by founder and chief executive Vladislav Sandler at Cornell University, which is now a shareholder in Hemogenyx, they target a market estimated to be currently worth between US$8bn - US$9bn.
CDX antibodies, the first product, tackle the pre-transplant, conditioning stage.
A more benign alternative to the current standard of care, it will eliminate chemotherapy and radiotherapy by targeting and killing only “unwanted” cells (not everything) and allowing many more people who would otherwise be deemed unfit enough to receive a transplant.
Pre-clinical trials on humanised animals have already proved it as a concept, says Sandler.
A Phase I clinical trial though only a safety study will give a good indication of its potential.
Trial patients will only have a few months to live and they will either survive after treatment or not.
Stem cell treatment
Hemogenyx’s second product effectively replaces a patient’s cancer-infected blood with a new, clean, supply generated from their own stem cells.
As these blood stem cells have not been through the body’s circulatory system, they have not accumulated the mutations or chromosome rearrangements that cause the cancer.
“In effect, they reset blood generation back to zero” says Sandler.
These blood stem-like cells can also be found in everybody’s liver, he adds.