Humanigen (OTCMKTS:HGEN) told investors Monday that the promising preliminary results from a Phase 1 trial evaluating its flagship cancer treatment ifabotuzumab in patients with recurrent brain cancer will be showcased at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia (March 29-April 3).
Its Phase 1 study shows the potential of this anti-EphA3 monoclonal antibody to attack tumors by killing the stromal cells that protect them and the vasculature that feeds them without killing normal cells.
Indeed, ifabotuzumab’s impact on tumor vasculature provides evidence that targeting EphA3-expressing tumor neovasculature is a viable therapy for fighting solid tumors.
EphA3 is a tumor-restricted antigen expressed in the tumor vasculature of aggressive brain cancers. It also surfaces in the tumor vasculature and tumor stroma of colon, lung, kidney and bladder tumors, as well as melanoma.
“By specifically targeting the tumor stem cells, stromal cells and neovasculature, we believe ifabotuzumab has the potential to emerge as a next-generation oncology therapy for a range of solid tumors,” said Dr. Cameron Durrant, CEO of Humanigen, in a statement.
Research for the Phase 1 study was led by Drs Andrew Scott and Hui Gan of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute in Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia. And its preliminary results include data from four patients who have been enrolled so far.
As part of the trial, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging showed that ifabotuzumab accumulated at the site of the tumor in all patients treated and didn’t affect normal brain tissue.
The preliminary results are consistent with a preclinical study published recently in the journal ‘Cancers’ by doctors Bryan Day & Andrew Boyd from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane, Australia, in which they showed that the EphA3 receptor is an attractive tumor-specific target for tumors of the brain and other solid cancers.
Humanigen, which is based in Burlingame, California, is developing monoclonal antibodies to improve CAR-T cancer therapies and oncology treatments. Its key drug candidate is lenzilumab, a recombinant monoclonal antibody that neutralizes a substance that promotes growth of white blood cells but is also tied to inflammations that can occur during CAR-T therapies and lead to side effects.
Humanigen shares closed at $1.35 on Friday.
Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]