Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) 12 months on from listing


by Carolyn Herbert

Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) Managing Director and CEO, Dr Graham Kelly, talks about the company's first 12 months and clinical trial progress, and the potential for NOX66.

Carolyn Herbert: Hello I’m Carolyn Herbert from the Finance News Network and joining me from Noxopharm Limited (ASX:NOX) for an update is Managing Director and CEO, Dr Graham Kelly. Graham, welcome back.

Dr Graham Kelly: Thanks Carolyn.

Carolyn Herbert: For people who aren’t familiar with Noxopharm, can you briefly tell us what the company is about?

Dr Graham Kelly: We’re a drug discovery and development company and our first drug is called NOX66. And it’s a drug that we believe is going to make a very significant difference to the lives of cancer patients, by making standard chemotherapy and radiotherapy, work the way we finally hope that they would work.

Carolyn Herbert: It’s been almost 12 months since your IPO. Can you tell us how things are tracking?

Dr Graham Kelly: We’re pretty much on schedule; it’s been a very busy 12 months. We’ve managed to bring NOX66 into the clinic, so we have patients currently being treated with the drug. And that’s the start of quite an extensive clinical trial program.

Carolyn Herbert: What do you see as the potential for NOX66?

Dr Graham Kelly: We see a very substantial potential Carolyn. Most, in fact if not all drugs that are currently under development for the treatment of cancer, they focus on one or two particular types of cancer. And even there, they’re typically for not all patients with those forms of cancer. We believe NOX66 has the potential to be used across all forms of cancer, and for most patients with different forms of cancer. So if it works the way we believe and hope it will, then it has the potential to become a major and standard form of cancer therapy.

Carolyn Herbert: When will we know if NOX66 is as good as you believe it is?

Dr Graham Kelly: Within six months. So the first bunch of patients that have started treatment early this year, are having their scans now. And by the end of the year, well we won’t have finished all patients; we will have done the majority of patients and we will be able to report on those patients, before Christmas anyway. So we are already seeing the results of those early patients and unfortunately, we’re not able to report on those just yet. We need to wait until we’ve got a critical mass of patients and then we will report on them. But that’ll be before Christmas.

Carolyn Herbert: Where do you expect to be then in two years time?

Dr Graham Kelly: We will be in registration studies. Now what’s a registration study? Well it’s the study that you ultimately do in collaboration with the regulators, like the FDA. And this is the study that you hope brings you onto the market. So we hope to be in at least one of those studies before the end of next year, that’s 2018. Which means we have a very good shot at getting this drug onto the market, within five years.

Carolyn Herbert: Finally Graham, you’ve mentioned in the past that Noxopharm may develop drugs to treat conditions other than cancer. So can you tell us a bit about this?

Dr Graham Kelly: I think the first point to make is that Noxopharm is dedicated to oncology, or cancer. So NOX66 has such an extraordinary opportunity in the cancer field that we can’t afford to distract ourselves, or end up diluting our resources on anything else. However, during the course of developing NOX66, we made an important discovery. And that is (preclinically), that the drug will actually cross the blood brain barrier and go into the brain. Now that makes it only one of two anticancer drugs that we know of, that cross into the brain, which is great for treating brain cancer.

However, there’re all sorts of reasons you would like a drug to cross into the brain. And that is to get in to be able to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, stroke. And a lot of people have made a lot of effort over the years to develop drugs to do that, and a lot of drugs have been developed. They’ve just never got the market, because you can’t get them into the brain. They don’t cross that blood brain barrier, which is an extraordinary effective barrier at keeping drugs out of the brain.

We know now (from laboratory studies) we’ve got the technology or the drug delivery platform, to be able to get these drugs into the brain. So we’re not going to ignore that opportunity. So the Board has given a lot of thought to how we can make that pretty valuable IP, work for the benefit of shareholders without distracting the Noxopharm story. So we have a strategy in mind and we’ll be informing the market of that fairly soon.

Carolyn Herbert: Dr Graham Kelly, thanks for the update.

Dr Graham Kelly: Thanks Carolyn.