Australian drug discovery to be studied in the US

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A drug candidate discovered by the Australian company Pharmaxis (ASX:PXS) will be the focus of a new trial aimed at studying its potential as a treatment for an aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer.

The trial, which is being funded through a grant from the Charlie Teo Foundation, will enter pre‐clinical efficacy testing for glioblastoma (GBM). GBM is the most common form of brain cancer with an average survival of only 15 months from diagnosis.

The grant of $186,837 will go towards the study of PXS‐5505 at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The drug is a potent inhibitor of lysyl oxidase that is thought to play a crucial role in GBM because they attract inflammatory cells that accelerate tumour growth and reduce survival.

Pharmaxis said PXS‐5505 has demonstrated a good safety profile in healthy volunteer clinical studies in Australia.

CEO Gary Phillips said, “We are delighted the Charlie Teo Foundation has awarded this grant to enable study of PXS‐5505, aiming to fight this devastating form of brain cancer which is in desperate need of treatment options. I lost my own father to glioblastoma so this project is close to my heart. We sincerely thank the Charlie Teo Foundation for recognising the potential for PXS‐5505 and taking this last step to validate effectiveness.

“The study will run over one year and if successful can lead to clinical trials in 2022. This new project accesses external funds and expertise to extend the potential uses of PXS‐5505 which is already entering efficacy trials in myelofibrosis, rare form of bone marrow cancer which is currently enrolling patients in a phase 1c/2 clinical trial.”

Founder and director of the Charlie Teo Foundation, Professor Charlie Teo, said, “As a neurosurgeon what I see most from my patients is shock and disbelief that there are no treatment options available to them. There is only one first‐line chemotherapy and radiation therapy and these treatments only extend life by a matter of months. My brain cancer patients do not accept this fate, and neither do I.

“Charlie Teo Foundation is bringing together teams who we consider to be the best brains around the globe, combining the necessary expertise with ground‐breaking technology and ‘out of the box’ thinking. Together, we believe we can improve treatment options for people with brain cancer.”