DelMar Pharmaceuticals has announced that the FDA Office of Orphan Products Development (OOPD) has granted Orphan Drug designation for its lead product candidate, VAL-083, in the treatment of ovarian cancer. The investigational drug candidate previously received an orphan designation for glioma and medulloblastoma in the U.S. and glioma in Europe.
VAL-083 is a "first-in-class" small-molecule chemotherapeutic. In more than 40 phase I and II clinical studies sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute, VAL-083 demonstrated clinical activity against a range of cancers including lung, brain, cervical, ovarian tumors and leukemia both as a single-agent and in combination with other treatments.
"We are pleased to receive the designation, which is timely in light of new data presented this week with supporting the potential for VAL-083 in the treatment of ovarian cancer," said Jeffrey Bacha, chairman and CEO of DelMar Pharmaceuticals. "This announcement is representative of the progress we've made in developing VAL-083 which we believe positions the therapy as a viable treatment option for ovarian cancer patients."
DelMar's collaborators from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center presented preclinical data demonstrating that VAL-083 appears to have a distinct mode of action from platinum-based chemotherapies widely used in the treatment of ovarian cancer. In these studies, VAL-083 demonstrated an ability to circumvent cisplatin-resistance in all ovarian cell lines tested.
According to EvaluatePharma, the market for ovarian cancer therapies is expected to be approximately $570 million in 2016 and is projected grow to more than $3.5 billion in 2022. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 22,000 women will receive a new diagnosis of ovarian cancer and approximately 14,000 women will die from ovarian cancer in the United States each year. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
Ovarian cancers are commonly treated with a platinum-based chemotherapy regimen. Initial tumor response rates are relatively high; however, up to 75% of ovarian cancer patients who respond to initial treatment will relapse within approximately 18 months after completing first-line therapy. Median survival in platinum-resistant recurrent ovarian cancer patients ranged from six to nine months in published studies.
"Ovarian cancer represents the latest indication where our current research, combined with historical clinical activity demonstrated in NCI-sponsored clinical trials, supports our strategy to focus our development of VAL-083 as a new treatment option for ovarian cancer patients who have failed or are unlikely to respond to modern chemotherapeutic regimens," said Bacha. "We look forward to working with the FDA's Office of Orphan Product Development and leading investigators to advance this program alongside our ongoing efforts in glioblastoma and other solid tumors."