Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) oncology drug developer


by Anna Napoli

Noxopharm Limited (ASX:NOX) CEO and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Greg van Wyk talks about the company's clinical trials for late stage prostate cancer, key outcomes and timelines.

Anna Napoli: Hello. I'm Anna Napoli, for The Finance News Network, and joining me now from Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) is CEO and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Greg van Wyk. Greg, welcome back to FNN.

Dr Greg van Wyk: Hi, Anna. Thanks very much for having me.

Anna Napoli: First up for new investors, can you explain what Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) does, and how it could potentially change the treatment of some cancers?

Dr Greg van Wyk: Noxopharm (ASX:NOX) is an Australian drug development company. We are listed on the ASX, and we are very much focused on oncology. Our first treatment that we're looking to take into the market is a drug called Veyonda. Veyonda is a drug that can enhance chemotherapy as well as radiotherapy. At the moment, we're very much focused on bringing it to the market for the treatment of prostate cancer, initially for patients who have run out of all other treatment options. In due course, we hope to bring it to patients who will then have the opportunity potentially to delay or forego the need for treatments that may have more side effects such as androgen deprivation therapy.

Anna Napoli: Veyonda is currently in two clinical trials for late stage prostate cancer. Can you remind us of the trials?

Dr Greg van Wyk: The LuPIN and the DARRT study are both studies of Veyonda in combination with radiotherapy in late stage prostate cancer for use in men who have run out of previous treatment options. Both explore the concept that Veyonda may enhance radiotherapy's effect in these patients, but the LuPIN study uses an intravenous dose of radiotherapy that really seeks out all if not most of the tumours in the body, whereas DARRT uses an external source of radiotherapy to really zone in on one tumour in the body. The LuPIN study is being run here in Sydney at St Vincent's Hospital under the leadership of Professor Louise Emmett, and DARRT study is in Noxopharm led study.

Anna Napoli: What results have you seen, and can you add some context to those results?

Dr Greg van Wyk: To date, we've had 70 patients treated with Veyonda in our clinical program, and so far Veyonda has proven to have very good tolerability profile, as well as safety profile. This is really important for any drug that's to be used in patients with late stage cancer because many of these patients have been through a lot of treatment and may well be suffering quite a lot from their cancer at that point in time as well. In the DARRT study, we've already released earlier this month the 12 week follow up result for the first 12 patients, and we're very encouraged with the responses that we saw. One in three patients had a 50 per cent reduction from baseline in their PSA, which is a good and well accepted measure of response of the tumours in prostate cancer trials. Seeing this in these patients who have really gone through a lot of treatment already is very encouraging.

Combined with the 50 per cent reduction in pain that we saw in one in every two patients, as well as the safety and tolerability that we see with Veyonda, we believe that this treatment option could be a very good option that delivers clinical and economic value. Professor Emmett will be presenting results at a major congress in the United States in June this year.

Anna Napoli: For potential investors, what is the potential pay off of a combination therapy treatment for prostate cancer where other treatments have actually failed?

Dr Greg van Wyk: While significant advances have been made in the treatment of prostate cancer and as a result, now many patients are able to live for quite a long time with their disease, the reality is that a significant proportion of men will still progress through all available treatment options, the result unfortunately being in that in 2018, over 3,500 Australian men lost their lives to prostate cancer. There is a need for more treatment options in the setting. When we're able to bring Veyonda to market, we expect that it would see quite good uptake in utilisation. Now the upshot for investors is the opportunity to share in the market that's forecast to be worth over US$14 billion by 2026.

Anna Napoli: Greg, what can we expect over the next nine to 12 months in terms of the company's trials, and also in terms of news flow?

Dr Greg van Wyk: Well they can expect more results to be presented from both LuPIN and DARRT over the coming 12 months, and in May, 2019 we expect to release the 24 week follow up results for the first 12 patients in DARRT. This will give us our first really good indication of durability of treatment effect. Then we're excited to present results for all 24 patients in the DARRT study in a major congress in Q1 of 2020. As I mentioned previously, Professor Emmett will be presenting results from LuPIN in June this year, and that should be the first of a number of data disclosures that'll flow over the next 12 months.

Anna Napoli: Greg van Wyk, thank you for the update.

Dr Greg van Wyk: Thanks again Anna.