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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Noxopharm-BMS combination trial aims to boost efficacy of cancer treatment

Health Industry Hub | November 11, 2020 |

Pharma News: Australian clinical-stage drug development company Noxopharm is pleased to announce that NOX have joined with Principal Investigator, Professor Paul De Souza, and three Sydney hospitals in a pilot study (IONIC-1) to explore the ability of Veyonda to boost the effectiveness of Bristol Myers Squibb’s nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment of cancer.

The program known as IONIC stands for Immuno-Oncology with VeyoNda and Immune Checkpoint inhibitors. Immune checkpoint inhibitors such as nivolumab have revolutionised the treatment of some cancers with what can be dramatic life-saving benefits. However, some patients have inherent resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors and the IONIC-1 study will investigate whether Veyonda is able to overcome this resistance in patients with cancers such as breast, ovarian, prostate and sarcoma cancers.

Professor De Souza BScMed MB BS MPH PhD FRACP is the Principal Investigator. Professor de Souza is an eminent oncologist and thought leader with extensive experience in cancer drug development. He holds the positions of Head of School and Dean of Medicine at the University of Wollongong, Conjoint Professor at the University of NSW and Foundation Chair of Medical Oncology at Western Sydney University, as well as being a practicing medical oncologist at several Sydney hospitals.

Prof De Souza said “I’m excited to be working with Noxopharm and Bristol Myers Squibb on this study. Checkpoint inhibitors have made a tremendous difference to some patients with advanced cancer and if we can increase the number of patients that respond through the addition of Veyonda to their treatment regimen, we will make a significant impact, not only to those individuals, but also on the oncology landscape.”

Research points to a key limiting factor being the lack of competent immune function within cancer, with individual tumours actively expelling immune cells. Restoring that immune function is referred to commonly as converting tumours from COLD to HOT and is a major current goal within the pharmaceutical industry. There is growing evidence of this effect being a key anti-cancer function of Veyonda.

The IONIC-1 pilot study will investigate the combination of Veyonda and nivolumab (Opdivo) for the treatment of a range of tumour types in approximately 30 cancer patients. Following Ethics Committee approvals, it is anticipated that the first patients will be recruited early in 2021.

The checkpoint inhibitor market encompassing PD-1, PD-L1 and CTLA-4 inhibitors is set to cross US $25 billion by 2022 with BMS’ Opdivo and MSD’s Keytruda presenting significant growth opportunities.


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