Maréne Landström, founder and CSO, and Maarten de Château, CEO.

Maréne Landström, a professor of pathology at Umeå University, was named Sweden’s Cancer Researcher of the Year for 2024. Her groundbreaking research is currently being developed into a cancer treatment by the company MetaCurUm Biotech AB, which is gearing up to raise new capital for its next phase.
“MetaCurUm is aiming to secure around 100 million SEK, with substantial interest already shown by institutional investors in Sweden and Europe”, says, CEO Maarten de Château.

For more than 15 years, Professor Landström has been delving into the oncogenic TGFβ pathway, utilized by cancer cells to invade and metastasize. Her breakthroughs have birthed MetaCurUm, a company aiming to develop an antibody to halt this pathway and thus the spread of tumor cells. MetaCurUm’s antibody drug holds promise for improved side effects, quality of life, and overall survival compared to existing treatments.

The Cancer Researcher of the Year award is a testament to Maréne and her team’s significant contributions to the field. Coupled with the grants awarded last fall from the Swedish Research Council and the Cancer Foundation, this recognition brings a measure of assurance to the research team, which, like other academics, is always anticipating the next round of funding.

Collaborates with internationally renowned researchers
The award also reinforces Maréne’s belief in her team’s capability to develop a new cancer drug.

“Sometimes I think about how ambitious it is to try to create a new cancer drug. But looking at our data reaffirms my belief to continue working. The award and the grants are incredibly important as they allow us to maintain our skilled team, which has collectively brought our project to where it is today,” says Maréne.

Current efforts include validating the drug candidate, conducting more in vivo studies, and testing the antibody with other treatments to assess its effect on immunomodulators.

“We’ve established collaborations with internationally renowned researchers to validate our ‘drug target.’ They’ll conduct extensive bioinformatics studies, and we can use more clinically relevant models,” Maréne explains.

Promising biomarker discoveries
Promising discoveries regarding biomarkers for the substance have also been made, which could enable the identification of the right patients for treatment. This aspect is being explored in collaboration with other researchers in Sweden and Europe, focusing on clinical material from men with prostate cancer.

“If we can further validate our drug target, we could use a specific biomarker to stratify patients for our new treatment in the future,” she adds.

Raise capital for process development
The cancer drug is still in the preclinical phase. MetaCurUm’s CEO, Maarten de Château, comments on the current situation:

“In parallel with our collaboration with internationally recognized researchers, we are working to raise the substantial capital needed to complete the preclinical and initial clinical development of the antibody. We plan to secure this funding by the end of 2024 or early 2025. The capital is essential for process development, manufacturing smaller and larger batches for toxicity studies, which must be completed before entering clinical trials.”

A well-deserved honor
When asked what Maréne Landström being named Sweden’s Cancer Researcher of the Year means for the company, he responds,

“It’s primarily a well-deserved honor for our founder and a recognition of her long career in cancer research. It’s also undoubtedly positive for MetaCurUm, as our treatment method is based on Maréne’s research, and the award highlights the solid work behind our drug candidate.”

MetaCurUm Biotech receives business support from Umeå Biotech Incubator.

For more information, please contact: 
Maarten de Château, CEO
Maréne Landström, founder & CSO