We research the mechanism of action of our product candidates to determine the clinical indications best suited for therapy and rapidly advance our product candidates into human clinical trials and toward commercialization.
Our drug discovery research focuses on identifying well-validated clinical and commercial-stage compounds and establishing a scientific rationale for development in modern orphan cancer indications. Promising candidates are further researched through our network of consultants and contract research organizations. This approach allows us to rapidly identify and advance potential drug candidates without significant investment in “wet lab” infrastructure.
Our lead product candidate, VAL-083, represents a “first in class” small-molecule chemotherapeutic. The molecular structure of VAL-083 is not an analogue or derivative of other small molecule chemotherapeutics approved for the treatment of cancer. VAL-083 has been assessed in multiple clinical studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (“NCI”) in the United States as a treatment against various cancers including lung, brain, cervical, ovarian tumors and leukemia. Published pre-clinical and clinical data suggest that VAL-083 may be active against a range of tumor types. VAL-083 is approved as a cancer chemotherapeutic in China for the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (“CML”) and lung cancer. VAL-083 has not been approved for any indications outside of China.
In October 2011, we initiated clinical trials with VAL-083 as a potential new treatment for glioblastoma multiforme (“GBM”), the most common and aggressive form of brain cancer. In April 2012, we presented data at the American Association of Cancer Research annual meeting demonstrating that VAL-083 maintains activity in tumors resistant to the current front-line GBM therapy, Temodar®. In November 2012, we presented interim data from our clinical trial at the Annual Meeting of the Society for NeuroOncology demonstrating that VAL-083 can shrink or halt the growth of tumors in brain cancer patients who have failed other approved treatments. Currently, there is no approved therapy for these patients.
In addition to our clinical development activities in the United States, we have obtained exclusive commercial rights to VAL-083 in China. In October 2012, we announced that we had entered into a collaboration agreement with the only manufacturer licensed by the Chinese State Food and Drug Administration (“SFDA”) to produce the product for the China market. This agreement provides us with exclusive commercial rights which position us with the potential to generate near-term revenue through product sales or royalties for its approved indications in China while we seek global approval in new indications.
VAL-083 Target Markets
Click on the links below to learn more about each target market:
Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and most malignant form of brain cancer. Of the estimated 17,000 primary brain tumors diagnosed in the United States each year, approximately 60% are gliomas. Attention was drawn to this form of brain cancer when Senator Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with glioblastoma and ultimately died from it.
Newly diagnosed patients suffering from GBM are initially treated through invasive brain surgery, although disease progression following surgical resection is nearly 100%. Temozolomide (Temodar™) in combination with radiation is the front-line therapy for GBM following surgery. Temodar™ currently generates more than US$950 million annually in global revenues primarily from the treatment of brain cancer.
Approximately 60% of GBM patients treated with Temodar® experience tumor progression within one year. Bevacizumab (Avastin®) has been approved for the treatment of GBM in patients failing Temodar®. According to the Avastin® label, approximately 20% of patients failing Temodar™ respond to Avastin™ therapy. Analysts anticipate annual Avastin® revenues for the treatment of brain cancer may reach US$650 million by 2016.
Approximately 48% of patients who are diagnosed with GBM will fail both front-line therapy and Avastin™. DelMar Pharma estimates that the market for treating GBM patients the post-Avastin failure exceeds US$200 million annually in North America.
We have initiated preliminary discussions with leading cancer researchers regarding the development of a clinical strategy for the development of VAL-083 in hematologic cancers including leukemias, and lymphomas. VAL-083 is currently approved in China for the treatment of Chronic Mylogenous Leukemia (CML). In addition, we have established a high-level scientific rationale for the development of VAL-083 in other hematologic cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”). Lung Cancer
The activity of VAL-083 against solid tumors, including lung cancer, has been established in both pre-clinical and human clinical trials conducted by the NCI and by the drug’s commercial approval in China. Decision Resources, Inc., forecasts that the non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) drug market will exceed US$4.1 billion in 2012. We plan to establish a strong scientific and clinical rationale to support out-licensing activities to unlock the potential value of the drug in partnership with larger pharmaceutical companies with the resources and commercial infrastructure to effectively develop and launch a lung cancer product.