BOSTON and GERMANTOWN, Md., Oct. 21, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIOP), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of new cancer therapies, and Intrexon Corporation (NYSE:XON), a leader in synthetic biology, today announced the presentation of preclinical data from three studies that highlight the versatility of the novel gene expression and control technology used to develop ZIOPHARM's synthetic biology pipeline in oncology. The results were presented at the 2013 AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics, which is taking place October 19-23, 2013, in Boston.
"These are the first data to be presented that demonstrate the great breadth of Intrexon's gene expression and control technologies within cancer treatment," said Jonathan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM. "These studies show, in both in vitro and in vivo models, the ability to express up to three immunotherapies in one system. This includes the potent anti-cancer effectors IL-12, INFa, and a CTLA-4 decoy, that either could not be delivered or would otherwise be too toxic to be given as intravenous recombinant proteins. We also demonstrate the ability to build simplified, high-affinity, high-specificity, single chain versions of widely used antibodies such as HERCEPTIN® and ERBITUX®, allowing their use in multi-effector gene systems for potentially greater anti-cancer effect at reduced cost."
Dr. Lewis concluded, "Most importantly, these data are translational, with near-term application in the clinic."
ZIOPHARM expects to launch a Phase 1/2 study of the Company's Ad-RTS-IL-12 therapeutic candidate in glioma in the first half of 2014, in addition to filing multiple Investigational New Drug applications for other new technologies in 2014 and 2015. ZIOPHARM is currently studying its Ad-RTS-IL-12 therapeutic candidate in Phase 2 studies in melanoma and lung cancer.
"Working together, ZIOPHARM and Intrexon are designing and developing an entirely new set of tools for treating cancer, with the goal of delivering better, safer treatments and, ultimately, cures," said Samuel Broder, M.D., Senior Vice President of Intrexon's Health Sector and former Director of the National Cancer Institute. "These data demonstrate the great reach of our technologies and the ability to dictate, with increasing precision, not just how, when and where we deliver anti-cancer therapeutics, but how many therapies we deliver. I look forward to seeing how this potential translates into outcome as these approaches enter the clinic."
All three studies presented today were conducted jointly between ZIOPHARM and Intrexon Corporation as part of an Exclusive Channel Collaboration to research, develop and commercialize novel in vivo DNA- and cell-based oncology therapeutics using different approaches, all regulated by Intrexon's proprietary RheoSwitch Therapeutic System® (RTS®) platform.