NOX doubles down in fight against cancer therapy resistance

Published at Aug 22, 2016, in ASX Biotechs

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) will move into radiotherapy in addition to chemotherapy – a move CEO Graham Kelly calls an “extraordinary and unique market opportunity”.

The cancer drug company told the market today that it would expand the application of its flagship drug, NOX 66, to include its use in radiotherapy instead of the present chemotherapy focus.

Earlier this month it said that it would start trials of the drug in combating cancer cells’ resistance to chemotherapy.

The primary objectives of the trials are to make sure that NOX66 is safe on its own, and in combination with carboplatin.

The hope is that NOX66 will be able to lower the tumour’s resistance to carboplatin – which can be an issue in unresponsive tumours.

NOX told its shareholders today, however, that it would also move to test the drug’s effect in conjunction with radiotherapy.

Many of the mechanisms cancer cells use to resist chemotherapy treatment can also be used to resists radiotherapy, and NOX is hoping that NOX 66’s main active ingredient, idronoxil, can also be used to cancel the same mechanisms which can resist radiotherapy.

NOX will now move to plan a clinical trial of NOX 66’s ability to help radiotherapy processes, initially targeting a range of cancers including metastatic prostate cancer – where chemotherapy isn’t practical.

The trials will be run in conjunction with the chemotherapy trials, and will be conducted within budget for the next 18 months.

If NOX is able to pull off the move into radiotherapy, Kelly said it would provide important diversification for the business.

“The main benefits that we see in expanding our clinical program in this way are the dual effects of de-risking the company’s commercial position while at the same time broadening the commercial potential of NOX 66,” he said.

“Having the same drug able to provide a potent benefit for the main frontline anti-cancer therapies opens up an extraordinary and unique market opportunity.”

Remember however that trials are in their early stages and professional financial advice should be sought for further information about the company if considering NOX as an investment opportunity.

About NOX and NOX66

NOX66 is designed as an innovative dosage formulation of idronoxil, a compound which down-regulates pro-survival mechanism in cancer cells – including the cell’s ability to establish and maintain a range of drug-resistant mechanisms.

This can be an issue when it comes to treating solid tumours with chemotherapy, as the cells are able to resist treatment.

In particular, NOX66 has been formulated to target “tumour-specific external NADH oxidase-2”, which is the protein responsible for maintaining the transmembrane electron potential in the cancer cell’s plasma membrane.

It is thought by eliminating this, the cancer cells loses the ability to maintain a wide-range of pro-survival mechanisms.

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