Polyamine depletion therapy represents a unique cancer immunotherapy approach
Aminex Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage drug development company focused on advancing a novel cancer immunotherapy, today announced it received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration to initiate the first Phase 1 clinical trial of its immuno-oncology drug candidate AMXT 1501, a small molecule polyamine uptake inhibitor, and the approved drug DiFluoroMethylOrnithine (DFMO, eflornithine), a polyamine synthesis inhibitor. This immunotherapy treatment will be evaluated in patients with a broad range of advanced solid tumor cancers.
The open label, multicenter, dose-escalation trial will evaluate the safety and tolerability of AMXT 1501 alone, and in combination with DFMO, in more than 50 patients with advanced solid tumors. The trial will include a dose-ranging stage followed by an expansion phase. Evaluation of pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and clinical response rates will be assessed. The trial is listed on the NIH clinical trial registry www.clinicaltrials.gov (Identifier: NCT03536728). NEXT Oncology of San Antonio, Texas is the first of four clinical sites planned for this trial. The first cancer patient received an initial dose on June 12, 2018.
“Initiating this first trial of our unique immunotherapy approach represents a significant milestone for Aminex Therapeutics. We are extremely excited to begin clinical evaluation of this investigational therapy that has demonstrated significant promise in many preclinical studies involving multiple animal solid tumor cancer models,” said Jim Skaggs, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Aminex Therapeutics. “The primary goal of this trial is to determine the safety and appropriate dosage of AMXT 1501 and DFMO in combination. Efficacy indications will also be assessed. We are also pleased to announce the closure of a $10 million series B financing to support our clinical development efforts.”
Aminex Therapeutics’ immunotherapy approach combines the company’s oral, small molecule polyamine uptake inhibitor, AMXT 1501, with the off-patent polyamine synthesis inhibitor, DFMO, approved for African sleeping sickness. AMXT 1501 is designed to work in conjunction with DFMO to constrain the production and uptake of polyamines – molecules found in high concentrations in cancer cells and linked to immune system suppression. Reducing polyamines and, in turn, decreasing myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the tumor microenvironment, allows for activation of the immune system to attack solid tumors. In preclinical studies involving multiple cancer models, AMXT 1501 + DFMO has been shown to be especially effective against cancers driven by MYC and RAS, two major oncogenes known to promote the development of many types of solid tumor cancers.
Aminex Therapeutics, which is led by an experienced management team, board of directors and scientific advisory board, announced the strengthening of its leadership team with the earlier appointments of Roger Ulrich, Ph.D. to its Board of Directors and Stephen B. Baylin, M.D., as member of the Scientific Advisory Board and clinical advisor. Dr. Ulrich is a founder of Calistoga Pharmaceuticals and formerly with Acerta Pharma, Merck, Abbott Laboratories and The Upjohn Company. He currently serves as director for Acerta Pharma, Remedy Pharmaceuticals and is a Senior Advisor to Frazier Healthcare Partners. Dr. Baylin is Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professor of Oncology and Medicine, Co-Director of the Cancer Biology Division and Associate Director for Research Programs of the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.