Celtic Biotech, a company founded by brothers Paul and John Reid, is dedicated to creating innovative treatments for cancer using compounds found in snake venom. Dr. Paul Reid, an Irish entrepreneur, started this journey back in 1993 when he joined the US Army’s medical research institute. His background in microbiology and neurobiochemistry led him to study snake venom neurotoxins for potential vaccine production. Years later, Celtic Biotech emerged in Dublin, focusing on utilising specialised receptor-binding proteins from snake venoms to develop therapies that could enhance the survival rates, quality of life, and affordability of cancer treatments.
The primary focus is on solid tumours, particularly non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a malignancy that originates in lung tissues. The company’s leading candidate, CB24, has shown significant toxicity towards various tumour cell lines in early clinical and pre-clinical trials.
CB24, as described by Paul, is a heterodimeric cytotoxic phospholipase complex protein sourced from the venom of a South American rattlesnake. It possesses an inherent targeting mechanism and affinity for tumour cells. The drug comprises two subunits, A and B. Upon infusion into the body, subunit A accurately identifies cancerous cells while bypassing healthy ones. Subsequently, it attaches to and activates the destructive B subunit, causing damage to the cancer cells.
Celtic Biotech progressed CB24 to phase 1 human trials after successful pre-clinical studies. The results of these trials were presented at the 2018 American Association for Cancer Research annual exposition in Chicago, showcasing the potential of this novel treatment approach.
Find out more about Celtic Biotech here.