Unearthing the long-lasting responses with Veyonda® in the treatment of prostate cancer
Clinical-stage drug development company, Noxopharm Limited (ASX: NOX) lately announced the 6-month interim results from the dose-escalation arm of the DARRT-1 study, following the three-months interim results released in February 2019.
Headquartered in New South Wales, Noxopharm is actively engaged in drug development to treat cancer through innovative ways. The company has been emphasizing on developing drugs that are based on a phenolic chemical structure and Veyonda® has been highlighted to be the first pipeline product of the company. Noxopharm’s drug pipeline contains Veyonda® a clinical-stage oncology drug candidate, with an active drug discovery program underway. Housed in the Noxopharm Group’s non-oncology subsidiary company, Nyrada Inc. are four pre-clinical R and D programs. It is worth noting that Noxopharm Limited has undertaken key programs that have Veyonda® at the epicenter of drug development and these programs include a chemotherapy enhancement program (CEP), and two radio-enhancing programs, namely, Lu-PSMA IN Conjunction with Veyonda® (LuPIN) and Direct and Abscopal Response to RadioTherapy (DARRT).
Noxopharm has now reported the long-lasting responses from DARRT treatment in late-stage prostate cancer. It has been recorded that well-tolerated treatment regimen of Veyonda® (single 15-day course) along with low-dose radiotherapy is able to produce a durable anti-cancer response rate lasting at least 6 months, i.e. the length of the study, in a high proportion (57%) of men with end-stage, metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer. There was a complete resolution of pain reported in some patients (out of 14 patients recruited under the study).
Chief Executive Officer, Dr Greg van Wyk stated that “The DARRT treatment regimen had earlier showed a high rate of disease control at 3 months, and the recent data shows that this treatment effect is durable.”
“What is particularly pleasing is the level of pain relief achieved in this study, with two patients reportedly being completely pain-free at 6 months. Bone pain is a major issue in late-stage prostate cancer and being able to reduce pain on its own should make a major contribution to the well-being of patients,” added Dr van Wyk.
Previously known as NOX66, Veyonda® is an innovative dosage formulation of the drug ‘idronoxil’ and is being developed as an adjunct to radiotherapy across a broad range of cancers. Veyonda® has the potential to be used for treatment with both intravenous radionuclide and standard external beam radiotherapy which could activate the immunity system (innate response) as well as enhance the DNA-damaging effects of radiotherapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy. Key to this is the reduction shown so far in the well-known debilitating side-effects suffered by many patients from these standard cancer treatments.
The company believes that DARRT represents a potential paradigm change in the treatment of prostate cancer, and therefore it has amended the DARRT-1 protocol to obtain longer-term data for this cohort, including overall survival. The data is expected to be reported by the company in 2020.
These aspects along with the extension of the existing programs for other types of solid cancer would not only assist the company in securing marketing approvals for Veyonda® but would also provide a competitive edge to the company in biotech space.
How the company intends to chart the Future:
Noxopharm’s core objective is to evaluate the DARRT (Direct and Abscopal Response to Radio Therapy) treatment regimen across the full spectrum of prostate cancer from early-stage to late-stage, with low-dose radiotherapy potentially replacing the high and potentially destructive levels of radiation currently used in secondary-stage prostate cancer treatment.
The company further confirmed that the second arm of the DARRT-1 study is progressing as planned, with anticipated 3- and 6-monthly clinical reports expected to be released in July and October 2019 respectively.
Currently, the company is planning for the next step in the DARRT program in late-stage prostate cancer, with a multi-national study planned to commence in 2020.
A look into the stock performance:
Coming to the stock performance of the company, NOX settled the day’s trading session at $0.665, zoomed up by 14.66% (As on 3 May 2019). This stock with a market capitalisation of $79.69 million, has returned as significant as 60.49% return in last one month with more than 58% year-to-date return. This takes a cue from the recent developments that included the confirmation of idronoxil, as a new immuno-oncology drug candidate based on data derived from the first leg of the company’s pre-clinical studies.
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