Novel and Complex Cancer Drug Developments Reshaping Pharma Industry

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 Drug News
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PALM BEACH, Florida, February 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- News Commentary


to an article published on, Cancer immunotherapies at large have been some of the most sought-after treatments in all of the life sciences. Of 12 major, large-cap biopharmaceutical companies examined by Deloitte, the industry appears
to be homing in on the latest cancer therapies-and for a good economic reason. Various cancers are on the rise, including leukemia, cancers of the tongue, tonsil, small intestine, liver, pancreas, kidney, thyroid, vulvar, pancreas, as well as endometrial cancers, male breast cancers, testicular cancers, and throat cancers. Per the National Cancer Institute, approximately 46,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the United States are diagnosed each year, and about 40,000 patient deaths. There are several novel therapeutic approaches under investigation for the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer as top biotech firms aim to speed up the development and delivery of cancer therapies into the markets. Active in the biotech and pharma industry today includes: Moleculin Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBRX), QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN), Array Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRY), Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP), Agros Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ARGS).

Moleculin Biotech, Inc.  (NASDAQ: MBRX), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of anti-cancer drug candidates, some of which are based on license agreements with The University of Texas System on behalf of the MD Anderson Cancer Center ("MD Anderson"), today announced it has been able to show promising tumor suppression activity with its inhibitor of glycolysis, WP1122. "We have previously announced that our glycolysis inhibitors have shown a remarkable affinity for concentrating in the pancreas," commented Walter Klemp, Chairman and CEO of Moleculin. "And, we know that pancreatic cancer is highly glycolytic. Now, we have solid data showing the ability of WP1122 to inhibit pancreatic tumor growth in mice." Mr. Klemp continued, "This is the indicator we were looking for to support our going after pancreatic cancer as a primary target for the WP1122 portfolio. We couldn't be more excited given the intense unmet need in pancreatic cancer."  Read this and more news for Moleculin Biotech at: In other biotech developments in the markets: 

QIAGEN N.V. (NYSE: QGEN) this week announced the European launch of its novel therascreen PITX2 RGQ PCR Kit, the first clinically validated DNA methylation assay that helps predict the response of certain high-risk breast cancer patients to anthracycline-based chemotherapy. The CE-IVD marked assay is QIAGEN's first epigenetic test in breast cancer, as well as the latest addition to QIAGEN's broad portfolio of therascreen tests delivering individualized genetic insights to guide medical decisions in lung, colorectal and other cancers. More than 460,000 women in Europe are newly diagnosed with breast cancer each year, with about 50% characterized as high-risk for disease recurrence. Anthracycline-based chemotherapy is the standard of care, yet not all patients benefit equally - and side effects can be as severe as congestive heart failure and leukemia. The therascreen PITX2 assay provides physicians and their patients a novel, independent criterion to augment clinical information used in selection of the most suitable therapy to treat certain high-risk breast cancer.

Array Biopharma Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRY) closed Tuesday up 15.54% with over 9.8 million shares traded. The company also announced results for its second quarter of fiscal 2018 and provided an update on the progress of its key clinical development programs. Treatment with the combination of encorafenib 450 mg daily and binimetinib 45 mg twice daily (COMBO450) reduced the risk of death compared to treatment with vemurafenib 960 mg daily [hazard ratio (HR) of 0.61, (95% CI 0.47, 0.79, p<0.001)] in patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma in the Phase 3 COLUMBUS trial. Phase 3 trial showed mOS of 33.6 months for patients treated with COMBO450, compared to 16.9 months for patients treated with vemurafenib as a monotherapy.

Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SGYP) closed up 7.45% on Tuesday afternoon with a volume north of 6.2 million. Recently, the company announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved TRULANCE® (plecanatide) 3 mg tablet for the once-daily treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C) in adults. This is the second indication for TRULANCE, which is already approved for the treatment of adults with chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). "The IBS-C approval is a pivotal milestone for Synergy, representing the second approved indication for TRULANCE in the past 12 months," said Troy Hamilton, Pharm.D., CEO of Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. "This approval demonstrates our unwavering commitment to provide a safe and effective treatment option for those patients living with these chronic GI disorders."

Agros Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ARGS) came to a close up 8.24% on Tuesday with over 6.2 million shares traded on the day. Earlier in the week, the company announced that it has entered into an option agreement with Pharmstandard International, S.A. and Actigen Limited under which the Company has an option to license a group of fully human anti-PD1 monoclonal antibodies (PD1 checkpoint inhibitors) and related technology. Results of a preclinical study of a murine analogue of Rocapuldencel-T (Roca-T), the Company's investigational dendritic cell therapy for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), in various combinations with a murine PD1 monoclonal antibody (anti-mPD1) and sunitinib in a mouse model of renal cell carcinoma were recently presented at the ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium. In this model, murine dendritic cell precursors were processed in a similar manner to that by which human monocytes are processed to manufacture Roca-T.

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