Noxopharm Limited (ASX: NOX) is a clinical-stage Australian drug development company primarily focussing on the development of drugs based on a phenolic chemical structure, with the company’s first pipeline product, Veyonda® .
Noxopharm has identified Idronoxil (IDX), the active ingredient in the anti-cancer drug candidate, Veyonda® as the new Immuno-oncology drug that activates the immune system, in its first series of pre-clinical studies.
Post the announcement, Noxopharm closed the day’s trade at AUD 0.540 (as on 16th April 2019), up by 44%.
The studies state that IDX activates cells associated with both the innate and adaptive immune systems, raising CD4+ (T-helper) cell numbers and functional natural killer (NK) cells. The study was conducted in collaboration with a number of prominent universities and research institutes in Australia and overseas.
Veyonda® is a resourceful drug candidate and its immuno-oncology effects have the ability to supplement its chemo-enhancing and radio-enhancing functions across different cancer types, believes Mr. Greg van Wyk, M.D. and CEO of Noxopharm. According to him, this stimulating discovery would support the company’s strategy of combining Veyonda with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
With this discovery, Veyonda® prevails over the current standard immuno-oncology drugs which have been proved to be inadequate in their effectiveness due to their restricted benefit of being useful only in selected cancers such as melanoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and head and neck cancer. Only 20-25% of patients with these cancer types respond to such drugs while the majority of the patients across the entire cancer spectrum gets little or no benefit.
The global pharmaceutical sector works towards finding ways to extend the advantage of current immuno-oncology drugs to most cancer patients and the studies reported today support the view that IDX regulates cells associated with both arms (innate and adaptive) of the immune system. So, the company believes Veyonda® is leading globally on this front.
The global immune checkpoint inhibitor market was estimated at US$10.5 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach US$56 billion in 2025. These figures are based on the use of these drugs in their current confined manner.
The research program was stimulated by evidence of abscopal (off-target) responses seen in patients being treated with a combination of radiotherapy and Veyonda®, indicating an immunological response. The discovery reported provides a credible explanation for those considered abscopal responses.
The Company’s 3-pronged clinical strategy of studying Veyonda® in combination with external beam radiotherapy (DARRT program), chemotherapy and intravenous radiopharmaceuticals (LuPIN program) continues consistently, with information about the immuno-oncology function of Veyonda® serving to provide additional knowledge of how Veyonda® might be working.
According to Noxopharm, this discovery is an opportunity to integrate a standard checkpoint inhibitor with Veyonda® to secure a more substantial immuno-oncology effect in cancers which are currently being targeted by checkpoint inhibitors. The most suitable way to consolidate a current clinical program with the current checkpoint inhibitor is presently under consideration.
The company has a market capitalisation of $66.2 million with 122.6 million outstanding number of shares. The stock has provided a decent YTD return of 31.71%.
Today, the stock is trading at AUD0.490 (as at 3:40 PM AEST, 17 April 2019).
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