EVANSTON, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--OncoRx Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is announcing its launch as an early-stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of drug therapies that control the progression of therapy-resistant malignant tumors. OncoRx has exclusively licensed the patent rights for drugs that target and control the proliferation and invasiveness of self-renewing cancer stem cells, aggressive metastatic mesenchymal cells, and brain tumors through two complementary pathways for re-activating tumor suppressors. Re-activating tumor suppressors causes tumor cells to “self-regulate” the out-of-control proliferation and invasion associated with metastatic-specific cell surface glycoprotein remodeling and epigenetically-controlled DNMT1/G9a/EZH2 methyltransferase chromatin remodeling.
The Company’s lead drugs have demonstrated marked in vitro effectiveness in epithelial cells of primary and locally invasive tumors, as well as mesenchymal tumors having increased expression of cell surface glycoproteins that affect cell cycle dysfunction, tumor migration and angiogenesis. Donald L. Barbeau. President and co-founder of OncoRx Pharmaceuticals, commented, “Unlike non-invasive primary tumors, the growth, proliferation and invasiveness of therapy-resistant tumors are not effectively controlled with conventional cancer therapies or the newly introduced targeted kinase inhibitors. This inability to control the progression of therapy-resistant metastatic tumors is believed to be responsible for 90% of all cancer related deaths; yet, the only drugs we see getting approval are ineffective against these therapy-resistant malignant tumors.”
In vitro studies performed by the Company’s licensor have shown effectiveness against malignant melanoma tumors having the BRAFV600E mutation, estrogen-negative breast cancer tumors, tumors having downregulated tumor suppressors (e.g. PTEN, PP2A and Egr-1), and tumors with self-renewing cancer stem cells. In vivo studies are consistent with minimal cytochrome P450 biotransformation to known toxic metabolites, a relatively long plasma half-life, and the rapid achievement of clinically-relevant plasma concentrations in both plasma and the brain. OncoRx is now planning to initiate preclinical testing on its lead compounds for the treatment of pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and glioblastoma multiforme.
Mr. Barbeau commented, “Despite some recent successes of targeted kinase therapies and the immunologic therapies, the unregulated growth and proliferation of drug-resistant malignant tumors in patients was not in sight until now. This is not surprising when one considers that invasive drug-resistant malignant tumor cells have completely different biological properties than drug-sensitive tumor cells. We are excited about our partner’s research studies with drug-resistant malignant tumors, and the unique ability of their lead drug to markedly penetrate the blood-brain-barrier. As newcomers in a crowded field, it is imperative that we have unfettered access to this compelling science and strong intellectual property surrounding it if we hope to be successful.”
About OncoRx Pharmaceuticals
OncoRx Pharmaceuticals (www.oncorxpharmaceuticals.com) is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel drugs that control tumor metastasis; disrupt proliferation; disrupt sustained directional migration; and downregulate distant tissue invasion of drug-resistant tumor cells. In the near term, the Company is planning clinical trials for the treatment of pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) and glioblastoma multiforme. More than 90% of children with DIPG, which usually progresses like grade IV glioblastoma multiforme tumors, will die within 18 months after diagnosis. The 5-year survival rate for patients with glioblastoma tumors is only 3%; and the prognosis for glioblastoma patients with PTEN-deficient tumors is even worse. In the long term, the Company plans to expand its clinical program and develop oral drugs for the treatment of currently untreatable forms of metastatic malignant melanoma, estrogen-negative (e.g. triple-negative) breast cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.