Lyramid: Cancer Treatment and Detection

Cellmid holds the largest and most comprehensive global portfolio of intellectual property (IP) related to the novel oncology target midkine (MK). MK is highly expressed in over 26 cancers and enhances a variety of significant tumorigenic effects such as: survival, angiogenesis, migration and chemo-resistance.  Cellmid is using its strong IP position around MK to develop innovative novel targeted therapies and diagnostic tests for a number of cancer indications. 

MK expression in cancer (Jones, 2014, British Journal of Pharmacology)

Cancer Treatment 

Cellmid is developing a first-in-class anti-MK antibody as a lead drug candidate in oncology.  The anti-MK antibody is designed to inhibit MK’s tumorigenic effects, making it an ideal and potent candidate for the treatment of numerous cancers. In addition to direct action on malignant cells to modulate migration and survival, MK inhibits angiogenesis, modulates inflammatory cell recruitment and reduces resistance of tumors to chemotherapy.

Cellmid’s anti-MK antibody has strong potential for a firm positioning within the anti-cancer treatment market, which is currently worth over US$ 100 billion and is growing rapidly in all markets.

Personalised Medicine

Cancers are complex diseases with heterogeneity at individual patient level.  The premise of personalised medicine is that patients can be treated with drugs that are most likely to be effective.  Cellmid has developed and validated a companion diagnostic for the company’s anti-MK antibody therapy (MK ELISA).

The MK ELISA will be used to stratify patients and help group patients that would most benefit from anti-MK targeted therapy, as well as monitoring for response and relapse after treatment, making it a direct marker of drug efficacy.    This provides Cellmid with a significant advantage in the regulatory and clinical environment, where there is increasing demand to target treatments to patients who are likely to respond, and correspondingly for those patients to be closely monitored for response and relapse.

Cancer Detection

Midkine has high expression in over 20 cancer types and low expression in healthy adults making it a useful and sensitive cancer maker. Early detection is often a key factor in reducing mortality rates and Cellmid’s midkine detection technology promises to deliver a highly sensitive and cost-effective method for early detection and monitoring of many cancer types.     

In addition to Cellmid’s validated companion diagnostic, Cellmid’s midkine detection technology can be adapted to various platforms used in the diagnosis of cancer, including multiplexing midkine with other biomarkers. Multiplexing not only increases sensitivity and specificity but is useful in precise targeting of cancer types.  Using multiplexed tests can substantially reduce rates of false detection and optimise treatment pathways, presenting physicians with safer and more effective options for diagnosis and treatment. 

Cellmid’s midkine biomarker for the detection of cancer has strong potential for a firm positioning within the in vitro diagnostics (IVD) market worth an estimated US$ 59 billion, of which immunoassays, such as the midkine detection technology, comprise a market share of US$ ~18 billion. Oncology biomarkers comprise the fastest growing market within IVD and companion diagnostics as well as molecular diagnostics show great promise for increased growth within this area.


Cellmid is currently out-licensing its MK technology for inclusion in two novel cancer diagnostic multiplex tests for which Cellmid is expected to receive royalties on sales. The first licensed product, CxBladder®, is already on market and generating revenue of which Cellmid recieves single digit royalties.

CxBladder® was developed by Cellmid Licensee Pacific Edge Biotechnology. The urine-based detection and monitoring test that measures gene expression of MK and four other markers is used for the diagnosis of bladder cancer in patients presenting with blood in their urine.


CxBladder® is an effective alternative to cystoscopy, which is a painful and invasive procedure used in monitoring for recurrence of bladder cancer and it is expected to make a meaningful difference in a patient’s treatment. This novel test has seen successfully launched in the United States of America, Spain, New Zealand and Australia with distribution in other countries on the horizon. Cellmid's Licensee Pacific Edge Biotechnology has reported a 162% increase in operating revenue FY2015 - FY2016 and an exponential growth in revenue from NZ$ 150 000 to NZ$ 4.98 million in just two years.

With a first-in-class drug, a validated companion diagnostic, and successful licensing of the MK technology, Cellmid is in an outstanding position to access the rapidly growing oncology market.