Novogen Limited, an oncology drug development company, has signed a Sponsored Research Agreement with Cornell University. The Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) in New York will become the cornerstone of a collaboration across Europe, US, Asia and Australia involving universities and biotechnology companies seeking a treatment capable of delivering long-term remission for the main form of primary brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
The research program is focused on the super-benzopyran drug, Trilexium (Trx).
The brain cancer program parallels that of the Company's efforts in the area of ovarian cancer through its joint venture, CanTx Inc, with Yale University.
CanTx has identified a Trilexium derivative (Trx-1) as having equipotent killing ability of both ovarian cancer stem cells and ovarian cancer somatic cells, raising the prospect for the first time of being able with the one agent to kill the full hierarchy of cells within an ovarian cancer. The CanTx strategy is to bring Trx-1 into the clinic in the near-term as a generic treatment for late-stage ovarian cancer, but then to use the Trx pharmacophore to create a panel of drugs capable of killing ovarian cancer cells with specific genotypes, a further unique feature of this technology platform.
The brain cancer program has the same R&D and commercial objectives. The near-term goal is to bring Trilexium into the clinic as a generic treatment for GBM that has failed to respond to Temozolomide, the only drug approved for GBM. The longer-term goal is to identify a panel of drugs capable of providing a personalized approach to GBM chemotherapy.
The program is based on the high potency of Trilexium against GBM cells, with both GBM stem cells and somatic cells being killed at equivalent dosages.
Progression of GBM following radiotherapy and chemotherapy is believed to result from the regrowth of cancer stem cells that are chemo-resistant. Recurrent tumor cells, like their parent GBM stem cells, are highly drug-resistant and with increased aggression, accounting for the poor prognosis associated with GBM.
Dr David Brown, Novogen Group CSO, said, "The collaborative effort to date has focused on bringing Trilexium into the clinic for the treatment of GBM, and that goal will continue with the aim of bringing that agent into the clinic in early 2015."
"The expansion of the collaboration to include Cornell takes the program to the next level, which is to achieve personalized chemotherapy for patients with GBM. The objective is to identify a panel of Trx analogs that target individual GBM mutations within the genotype spectrum that characterizes GBM malignancies. That data then will inform our clinical objective which is to match the best drug candidate to an individual tumor genotype."
"WCMC has particular skills in identifying the genotype of explants from fresh biopsies of GBM tumors. We will be utilizing this ability to screen Trilexium analogs for activity against a wide range of individual tumors," Dr Brown added.
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