Jump to content

CytRx Unveils Clinical Development Plan for Pipeline Assets


Recommended Posts

CytRx Unveils Clinical Development Plan for Pipeline Assets

Names World-Renowned Cancer Drug Expert Dr. Joseph Rubinfeld as Chief Scientific Advisor

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--CytRx Corporation (NASDAQ: CYTR) today unveiled its corporate strategy to focus its internal resources on the clinical development of oncology drug candidates tamibarotene and INNO-206, which the Company believes offer the greatest mix of near-term and medium-term revenue potential among its clinical assets. CytRx will pursue partnerships to advance the clinical development of INNO-406 (bafetinib) and its clinical molecular chaperone portfolio, where it continues to see significant future revenue potential. The Company further intends to use its proprietary high-throughput, high-content drug screening Master Chaperone Regulator Assay (MaCRA) platform to discover additional molecular chaperone drug candidates, including those that may inhibit cancer growth, which will support internal efforts to build an oncology drug franchise or future out-licensing possibilities.

CytRx also announced that Board of Directors’ member Dr. Joseph Rubinfeld has accepted the additional responsibility of Chief Scientific Advisor, and will consult on all aspects of the Company’s oncology development programs while serving as an important interface between the Company and investors, clinicians and industry thought leaders. Dr. Rubinfeld brings substantial expertise in oncology and drug development through his distinguished career. Dr. Rubinfeld was employed at Bristol-Myers Company International Division as Vice President and Director of Research and Development. While at Bristol-Myers, Dr. Rubinfeld was instrumental in licensing the original anticancer line of products, including Mitomycin and Bleomycin. Among other accomplishments, he was among the four co-founders of Amgen, Inc., and founded SuperGen, Inc., where he previously served as CEO, President and Chief Scientific Officer. In his career he has been instrumental in the development of several blockbuster cancer drugs including cisplatinum, etoposide, erythropoietin, decibitene and pentostatin, and the antibiotics amoxicillin and cefadroxil.

Steven A. Kriegsman, CytRx President and CEO said, “We feel that our stockholders are best served by a focus on potential therapeutics for cancer. We believe tamibarotene has strong potential as a revenue generator with a high likelihood for rapid U.S. approval as a third-line treatment for acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). Our view is based on the substantial clinical history of tamibarotene as an approved treatment of relapsed APL, in Japan and the existing special protocol assessment (SPA) in place with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for our ongoing U.S. registration clinical trial. We are accelerating enrollment in this clinical trial, with the expectation of filing an NDA with the FDA as early as 2010. We are also taking steps to move into a Phase 2 clinical trial with INNO-206, our highly promising targetable pro-drug for the commonly prescribed chemotherapeutic doxorubicin. We believe that INNO-206 could be effective in a wide variety of cancers, including small cell lung cancer, sarcoma, breast and ovarian cancer and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

“Importantly, we expect that we have ample financial resources with our current cash position and investment in RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation to support this strategy,” according to Mr. Kriegsman. “We have strong oncology expertise within CytRx and are delighted that Dr. Joseph Rubinfeld, our long-time board member who has enjoyed an illustrious career developing cancer drugs, will be taking a leadership role in our oncology programs.”

Dr. Rubinfeld said, “Having reviewed the extensive data on tamibarotene and INNO-206, I am excited about the potential for these two cancer drug candidates and look forward to working closely with the CytRx management team to advance their clinical development to potential commercialization. I am also encouraged by the Phase 1 data we announced earlier this month with INNO-406, now known as bafetinib, which demonstrated positive, clinical responses in 35% of patients with refractory chronic myeloid leukemia. I believe these results will be instrumental in our search for a partnership for bafetinib.”

Mr. Kriegsman added, “We also stand behind our view that our orally administered molecular chaperone drug candidates, arimoclomol and iroxanadine, provide enormous potential in addressing large, underserved markets and are convinced that the prudent course to maximize stockholder value in this economic climate is to pursue pharmaceutical partners to share additional development costs for these longer-term programs. We intend to complete our ongoing arimoclomol animal toxicology studies and work aggressively toward lifting the current clinical hold in order to enable this drug candidate to move back into the clinic. At that point, we will seek partners for further development of arimoclomol as a therapeutic treatment for both ALS and stroke recovery. Additionally, iroxanadine has shown significant potential as a therapeutic treatment for diabetic foot ulcers and other diabetic complications, and based on Phase 2 data, we will pursue potential partnerships in cardiovascular conditions.”

CytRx’s drug portfolio includes the following:

Oncology Drug Candidates:

Tamibarotene: CytRx holds the North American and European rights to tamibarotene, a rationally designed, synthetic retinoid compound designed to potentially avoid toxic side effects of the current first-line APL treatment trans-retinoic acid (ATRA). CytRx is actively enrolling patients in a Phase 2 registration clinical trial, known as STAR-1, with tamibarotene to evaluate its efficacy and safety as a third-line treatment for APL. The registration study is being conducted under a Special Protocol Assessment. The FDA has granted Orphan Drug Designation and Fast Track Designation for the use of tamibarotene in patients with relapsed or refractory APL following treatment with ATRA and arsenic trioxide.

There are currently no approved third-line treatment options for refractory APL patients. CytRx estimates the U.S. market opportunity for tamibarotene in refractory APL at approximately $20 million annually. CytRx scientists are also evaluating clinical strategies for developing tamibarotene as a first-line or second-line APL therapy. The estimated annual market potential in the U.S. and Europe for an expanded label including refractory, maintenance and front-line therapy is $150 million. CytRx also retains an option to expand its licenses for the use of tamibarotene in other cancers including multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome and certain solid tumors in the U.S., and multiple myeloma, myelodysplastic syndrome and solid tumors, other than hepatocellular carcinoma, in Europe.

INNO-206: This pro-drug derivative of the commonly prescribed chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin is designed to reduce adverse events by controlling drug release and preferentially targeting the tumor. In a Phase 1 study, INNO-206 was administered in doses at up to six times the standard dosing of doxorubicin without an increase in observed side effects over those historically seen with doxorubicin. Objective clinical responses were seen in patients with sarcoma, breast and lung cancers. The Company plans to evaluate further clinical development of INNO-206 in a wide variety of cancers, including sarcomas, breast and ovarian cancer, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.

INNO-406 (bafetinib): INNO-406 (bafetinib), a potent, orally available, rationally designed, dual Bcr-Abl and Lyn-kinase inhibitor, is being evaluated for the treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and other leukemias that have a certain mutation called the Philadelphia Chromosome (Ph+) and are intolerant of or resistant to imatinib (Gleevec®) and second-line tyrosine kinase inhibitors (i.e. dasatinib (Sprycel®) and nilotinib (Tasigna®)). In November 2008, CytRx announced that bafetinib demonstrated positive, clinical responses in 35% of patients with CML in Phase 1 clinical testing. The Phase 1 clinical trial was used to determine the optimal dose prior to Phase 2 clinical efficacy testing.

CML is a type of cancer that starts in blood-forming cells of the bone marrow and invades the blood. In 2007, the American Cancer Society estimated that approximately 4,600 new cases of CML were diagnosed in the U.S. and that the number will increase as the population ages. Current estimates are that worldwide CML prevalence will increase by 10,000 patients a year, reaching a population of 110,000 in 2010. The global market will grow to an estimated $5.5 billion by 2012.

Molecular Chaperone Regulation

CytRx is a leader in molecular chaperone regulation technology. The Company currently has two orally administered, clinical-stage, drug candidates and recently discovered a series of additional compounds that may provide a pipeline for additional drug candidates. The Company's drug candidates are believed to function by regulating a normal cellular protein repair pathway through the activation or inhibition of "molecular chaperones." Because damaged proteins are thought to play a role in many diseases, activation of molecular chaperones that help to reduce the accumulation of misfolded proteins may have therapeutic efficacy in a broad range of disease states. Similarly, CytRx believes that the inhibition of molecular chaperones that normally help protect cancer cells from toxic misfolded proteins may result in the selective destruction of cancer cells.

Arimoclomol: This molecular chaperone regulator drug candidate is being considered as a treatment for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) and stroke recovery. Arimoclomol has been studied in seven Phase 1 and two Phase 2 clinical trials without any significant adverse events. CytRx’s Phase 2b clinical trial with arimoclomol as a treatment for ALS was placed on clinical hold by the FDA in January 2008, unrelated to any data generated by human studies, and additional preclinical toxicology studies are underway to resolve this issue.

Iroxanadine: CytRx believes that this orally available small molecule compound represents a potentially powerful breakthrough in the treatment of vascular diseases that are caused in part by damage to "vascular endothelium" that lines the inside of blood vessels. CytRx believes that endothelial dysfunction plays a key role in the development of various vascular diseases or their complications including diabetic ulcers, thrombosis, retinopathy, and peripheral artery disease. Preclinical and clinical studies with iroxanadine indicate that it has therapeutic potential for the treatment of cardiovascular atherosclerosis. According to the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, atherosclerosis is a leading cause of illness and death in the U.S. and affects approximately 4.6 million people annually.

CytRx San Diego Laboratory: The CytRx San Diego Laboratory is using the Company’s proprietary Master Chaperone Regulator Assay (MaCRA), a cell image-based screening tool that enables the rapid and quantifiable screening of large numbers of small molecule compounds. This technology is used to identify potential drug candidates that modify the activity of a protein known as heat shock transcription factor 1 (Hsf1) and consequently control entire groups of molecular chaperone proteins that repair or degrade toxic misfolded proteins present in diseased cells. Evaluation of the compounds identified in the screen has shown that they exhibit cytoprotective properties in cell culture models of disease. This platform has broad applicability to a range of therapeutic areas, through its ability to identify drug candidates that can either inhibit or amplify molecular chaperone activity. Information related to the development of MaCRA for compound screening was published in the November 2008 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Biomolecular Screening.

CytRx Oncology Expertise

Collectively, CytRx's management and its Board of Directors have brought numerous cancer drugs to market. In addition to Dr. Rubinfeld, the senior managers and directors of CytRx who hold significant oncology experience include: Max Link, Ph.D., Chairman of the Company's Board of Directors since 1996, who served for a number of years as Chairman and CEO of Sandoz Pharma as well as a director of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Celsion Corporation and Discovery Laboratories, Inc.; Jack R. Barber, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer, who has significant R&D experience in oncology at Immusol and Viagene, where he most recently served as Head of Oncology; and Shi Chung Ng, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Research and Development, who has substantial R&D experience at companies such as Abbott and ArQule, Inc., and most recently served as Vice President of Molecular Oncology at Ligand Pharmaceuticals.

About CytRx Corporation

CytRx Corporation is a biopharmaceutical research and development company engaged in the development of high-value human therapeutics. The CytRx drug development pipeline includes programs in clinical development for cancer indications, including tamibarotene in a registration study for the treatment of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). CytRx is developing two drug candidates based on its industry-leading molecular chaperone technology, which aims to repair or degrade misfolded proteins associated with disease. The Company owns and operates a research and development facility in San Diego. CytRx also maintains a 45% equity interest in publicly traded RXi Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: RXII). For more information on the Company, visit www.cytrx.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the events or results described in the forward-looking statements, including risks relating to the outcome or results of any pre-clinical or clinical testing of CytRx's potential oncology or molecular chaperone drug candidates, including tamibarotene as a third-line treatment for APL, risks related to CytRx’s ability to enter into partnerships to advance the clinical development of INNO-406 and its clinical molecular chaperone portfolio, uncertainties related to the impact of the FDA's clinical hold on the Company's arimoclomol clinical trial for ALS on the timing and ability to resume clinical testing at the desired dosage of arimoclomol, the risk that any requirements imposed on the Company's planned clinical trial designs for ALS or stroke recovery by the FDA as a result of the concerns expressed in their clinical hold of the Company's ALS program might adversely affect the Company's ability to demonstrate that arimoclomol is efficacious in treating ALS or stroke patients or cause the Company to cancel one or both of those trials, risks related to CytRx's need for additional capital or strategic partnerships to fund its ongoing working capital needs and development efforts, risks related to the future market value of CytRx's investment in RXi and the liquidity of that investment, and the risks and uncertainties described in the most recent annual and quarterly reports filed by CytRx with the Securities and Exchange Commission and current reports filed since the date of CytRx's most recent annual report. All forward-looking statements are based upon information available to CytRx on the date the statements are first published. CytRx undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Lippert/Heilshorn & Associates

Jody Cain (jcain@lhai.com)

Kevin McCabe (kmccabe@lhai.com)


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.