Noxopharm Limited (ASX: NOX) rides on its overarching objective for a treatment to harness the body’s immune system to attack all the cancer cells in the body, but with noticeably reduced side-effects. The company is positioned as a clinical-stage drug development entity focused on the treatment of cancer, with its non-oncology subsidiary, Nyrada Inc. working on four pre-clinical programs for significant unmet medical needs in the areas of neuroprotection, anti-neuroinflammation and anti-hypercholesterolaemia.
As per Dr Graham Kelly, Executive Chairman and Founder of Noxopharm Limited, “Noxopharm is evolving into a traditional biopharmaceutical company with a growing pipeline of drug candidates across a spectrum of therapeutic indications. The oncology opportunity (Veyonda®) remains the dominant focus but a new opportunity has a dollar value and it would be remiss to not capture that opportunity value for shareholders.”
The business model of the company is based on the two separate structures for the oncology and non-oncology assets. In 2017, Noxopharm formed a subsidiary company, Nyrada Inc, a US-registered entity to house non-oncology drug intellectual property, outside its primary focus on oncology drug development, although it sits within the consolidated Noxopharm Group.
Dr Kelly informed that “Any intellectual property that sprang from the Noxopharm’s R&D activities that could have application outside the field of oncology would be separated and placed in a separate company that would avoid distraction and dilution of effort and resources in the main game.”
The oncology segment is the one considered as the main game for Noxopharm Limited with its lead drug candidate, Veyonda® (previously known as NOX-66).
Veyonda® is an innovative dosage formulation of the drug ‘idronoxil’, designed to enhance the cancer-killing effect of standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy as well as to activate the body’s innate immune cell function to attack those cancer cells that have survived the initial treatment.
In 2018, Noxopharm commenced its DARRT-1 Phase 1b clinical study (also known as NOX66-002A) in 24 late-stage prostate cancer patients, along with the LuPIN-1 study, also in late-stage prostate cancer patients. Both studies are targeting to analyse if Veyonda® can boost the cancer-killing effect of radiotherapy.
With respect to Chemotherapy enhancement, Noxopharm conducted its first-in-human study, Chemotherapy Enhancement Program (CEP) to see if Veyonda® would boost the efficacy of the cytotoxic chemotherapy, carboplatin, to the extent that the dosage of carboplatin could be lowered to a less toxic dosage.
All trials to date have shown that Veyonda® is a safe and well-tolerated drug candidate, as per the company.
The recent developments have shown the long-lasting responses from DARRT treatment in late-stage prostate cancer with the complete resolution of pain in some patients.
Noxopharm aims to bring Veyonda® to market as a radio-enhancing drug with key focus on 2 radio-enhancing programs (DARRT and LuPIN). The company stated that it has every reason to believe that Veyonda® can position itself as the drug that delivers on the hope of making radiotherapy more effective, with the prospect of it becoming a standard co-treatment with most forms of radiotherapy.
Housed in the company’s subsidiary, Nyrada, the non-oncology segment is focused on drug development under four pre-clinical research and development programs including Neuroprotectant (NYX-104), Anti-neuroinflammation (NYX-205) and Anti-hypercholesterolaemia (NYX-330).
The company eyes a considerable size of drug development opportunities in non-oncology to address the largely unmet medical needs.
Neuroprotectant (NYX-104) is a drug intended to protect the brain from a form of damage known as excitotoxicity. This is the damage caused to the brain by a stroke. The company believes that NYX-104 might be the first drug capable of offering effective protection from the excitotoxicity process.
NYX-205 is being developed as a drug to treat inflammation of the nervous tissue and NYX-330 is a PCSK9-inhibitor being developed as a companion product for statin drugs in lowering LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels in patients at risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
Noxopharm has reportedly recorded potential opportunities in the non-oncology segment mainly across anti-inflammatory drug and neuroprotectant drug, emphasising the value of the technology platform and the strength of the company’s intellectual property.
NOX is trading at $0.515 as at 10 May 2019 (11:53 PM AEST). The stock has generated impressive YTD return of 25.61% to its investors till date.
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