LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 06/28/13 -- It's not exactly some big revelation that there is a great need to develop novel technologies to combat cancer. The future is probably more optimistic now, though, than in the past as many companies have spent the time and money to develop promising new therapeutic candidates outside of the traditional scope of small molecule drugs. Drug companies with different approaches, like that of Seattle Genetics Inc. and Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) are leading to innovative and promising new approaches in oncology research.
Seattle Genetics Inc. has established itself as the go-to partner with its antibody-drug conjugate, or ADC, technology. ADCs are monoclonal antibodies that are designed to selectively delivery high-toxicity agents directly to tumor cells. Coupled with the company's linker systems, the agent can travel safely through the bloodstream and then be released once inside targeted tumor cells. Big pharma is seeing this system as having a distinct advantage over therapies today and the deal flow at Seattle Genetics exemplifies the interest. On June 25, Bayer HealthCare penned an agreement with Seattle Genetics for an ADC collaboration that includes a $20 million upfront payment and potential for $500 million more should pre-defined milestones be met.
To date, Seattle Genetics has more than 15 ADCs in clinical development utilizing its technology that have the potential to generate $3.5 billion in milestone payments, plus royalties, for the company.
Upstart Nuvilex is an expert in a unique live cell encapsulation technology that, similar to Seattle Genetics, gets the drug to its target to improve therapeutic outcomes. Nuvilex has solidified itself as a player in biotechnology that could address a broad spectrum of indications with its live cell encapsulation technology, including diabetes and cancer, to name two major ones.
For cancer, Nuvilex's live cell encapsulation has been used to convert prodrug chemotherapies into active drugs once they are placed in close proximity to a tumor via catheterization into upstream blood vessels, optimizing the cancer-killing effect of the anticancer drug with little toxicity due to lower dosage levels of the prodrug being required.
The company is positioned to potentially deploy its live cell technology for the treatment of various forms of cancer, particularly difficult-to-treat tumors such as advanced inoperable pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, and other types of solid tumors.
Although The Green Baron Report and Evergreen Marketing, Inc. are not under any current contract for compensation from Seattle Genetics or Nuvilex, Evergreen Marketing has maintained interest in this sector since it provided coverage under contract back in 2011.
Many of the capabilities of Nuvilex's live cell encapsulation technology have been investigated, but perhaps the most compelling is the increased survival rates from a Phase I/II clinical trial in non-resectable pancreatic cancer patients. Fourteen patients were treated with the long-used anticancer drug ifosfamide following implantation near the pancreas, and therefore the tumor, of encapsulated cells capable of converting ifosfamide into its active form. One-third the standard dose of ifosfamide and only two cycles of drug treatment were given (ifosfamide is usually given for several cycles). Median overall survival was 44 weeks and the one-year survival rate was 36 percent, impressive figures by any standard.
Being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is effectively a death sentence with five-year survival rates of a meager 6 percent from 2003 - 2009, according to the National Cancer Institute. The only drug currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a single agent for the treatment for pancreatic cancer is Eli Lilly & Co.'s (LLY) Gemzar. By comparison, the Nuvilex clinical data outpaced historic data for Gemzar in both median survival (44-weeks vs. 28 weeks for Gemzar)-and the one-year survival rate where Nuvilex's treatment gave a 100-percent improvement in Gemzar's 18-percent one-year survival rate.
With that data in hand, Nuvilex is in the midst of raising the capital to sponsor a larger-scale Phase II/III clinical trial to further validate the safety and efficacy of its technology. In the planned trial, Nuvilex's treatment will be compared head-to-head with Gemzar. If the results of that trial supports those from the previous clinical trial, it is foreseeable that major pharma will take notice of the multiple uses of Nuvilex's cell encapsulation technology as a more potent and less toxic means of drug delivery, akin to the days gone by when Seattle Genetics first clinically proved the prowess of ADC technology.
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