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DelMar, MD Anderson link up in brain cancer deal
VANCOUVER, British Columbia & MENLO PARK, Calif.—DelMar Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have joined forces in a collaboration to speed the clinical development of VAL-083, DelMar's lead anti-cancer candidate, which is being advanced for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme, the most common and deadly form of brain cancer.
"The progress we continue to make with our research shows that VAL-083 may offer advantages over currently available chemotherapies in a number of tumor types," Jeffrey Bacha, chairman and CEO of DelMar, commented in a press release. "This collaboration will allow us to leverage world-class clinical and research expertise and a large patient population from MD Anderson as we extend and accelerate our clinical focus to include GBM patients following first recurrence of their disease."
Per the terms of the agreement, MD Anderson will initiate a new Phase 2 clinical study of VAL-083 in patients with glioblastoma multiforme at first recurrence/progression, prior to Avastin (bevacizumab) exposure. Dr. Barbara Jane O'Brien and Marta Penas-Prado, assistant professors in the Department of Neuro-Oncology, will lead the collaboration from MD Anderson's end. The patients eligible for this study will have recurrent glioblastoma multiforme characterized by a high expression of MGMT, the DNA repair enzyme implicated in drug-resistance and poor patient outcomes following current front-line chemotherapy. MGMT promoter methylation status will be used as a validated biomarker for enrollment, and patients' tumors must display an unmethylated MGMT promoter for them to be eligible for the trial. No financial details for the deal were disclosed.
"We believe that VAL-083's unique cytotoxic mechanism offers promise for GBM patients across the continuum of care as a potential superior alternative to currently available cytotoxic chemotherapies, especially for patients whose tumors exhibit a high-expression of MGMT," said Bacha.
In addition, DelMar will continue the preclinical research currently underway regarding VAL-083's mechanism of action with MD Anderson researchers. Recently presented data from the research suggest that the compound could have utility in other cancer types besides glioblastoma multiforme, including non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer and pediatric medulloblastoma.
VAL-083 is a first-in-class small-molecule chemotherapy that can cross the blood brain barrier, which remains one of the key obstacles with central nervous system drugs and therapeutics. DelMar's research has shown that the compound's anti-cancer mechanism is active independent of tumor MGMT status. Roughly two-thirds of glioblastoma multiforme patients have tumors with an unmethylated MGMT promoter, which is correlated with resistance to currently available chemotherapy and poor patient outcomes.
"We look forward to working with the world-class scientists and clinicians at MD Anderson to accelerate our research bringing us closer to our vision to transform the treatment of patients whose cancers fail or are unlikely to respond to currently available treatments," Bacha added.
SOURCE: DelMar Pharmaceuticals press release