LOS ANGELES -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- CytRx Corporation (Nasdaq: CYTR), a biopharmaceutical research and development company specializing in oncology, today announced that aldoxorubicin has received orphan medicinal product designation from the European Commission for the treatment of advanced soft tissue sarcomas. The designation is to encourage the development of drugs which may provide significant benefit to patients suffering from rare diseases.
“There is a significant unmet medical need for drugs to treat advanced soft tissue sarcomas,” said Steven A. Kriegsman, CytRx President and CEO. “This European designation, together with our U.S. orphan designation, will facilitate our global development of aldoxorubicin to help improve the available treatment options for cancer patients suffering from this aggressive and difficult to treat cancer.”
Aldoxorubicin is the Company’s lead product candidate which combines the chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin with a novel linker-molecule that binds specifically to albumin in the blood to allow for delivery of greater amounts of doxorubicin (3.5 to 4 times) without several of the major dose-limiting toxicities seen with administration of doxorubicin alone. Aldoxorubicin has been granted orphan drug designation by the Office of Orphan Product Development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with soft tissue sarcomas and pancreatic cancer.
Under European Medicines Agency (EMA) guidelines, Orphan Medicinal Product Designation provides up to 10 years of market exclusivity if the product candidate is approved for marketing in the European Union and the orphan designation is maintained. Orphan status also permits EMA assistance in optimizing the candidate’s clinical development through participation in clinical trial design and preparation of the product marketing application. Additionally, a drug candidate designated by the EMA as an Orphan Medicinal Product may qualify for a reduction in regulatory fees as well as a European Union-funded research grant.
Aldoxorubicin is currently being evaluated in a global pivotal Phase 3 trial under a special protocol assessment (SPA) as a therapy for patients with soft tissue sarcomas whose tumors have progressed following treatment with chemotherapy. CytRx also recently initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial with aldoxorubicin in patients with late-stage glioblastoma (brain cancer), and a Phase 2 clinical trial in HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma.
About Soft Tissue Sarcoma
Soft tissue sarcoma is a cancer occurring in muscle, fat, blood vessels, tendons, fibrous tissues and connective tissue, and can arise anywhere in the body at any age. According to the American Cancer Society, there are approximately 50 types of soft tissue sarcomas. In 2013 more than 11,400 new cases were diagnosed in the U.S. and approximately 4,400 Americans died from this disease. In addition, approximately 40,000 new cases and 13,000 deaths in the U.S. and Europe are part of a growing underserved market.
The widely used chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin is delivered systemically and can be highly toxic, which limits its total exposure. Doxorubicin also has the potential to damage heart muscle at cumulative doses greater than 450 mg/m2. Aldoxorubicin attaches doxorubicin to a novel linker that binds directly and specifically to circulating albumin, the most plentiful protein in the bloodstream. Protein-hungry tumors concentrate albumin, thus increasing the delivery of the linker molecule with the attached doxorubicin to tumor sites. In the acidic environment of the tumor, but not the neutral environment of healthy tissues, doxorubicin is released from the linker. This allows for greater doses (3 ½ to 4 times) of doxorubicin to be administered without dose-limiting toxic side effects. In studies in cancer patients thus far there has been no evidence of clinically significant effects of aldoxorubicin on heart muscle, even at cumulative doses of drug well in excess of 2 g/m2.
About CytRx Corporation
CytRx Corporation is a biopharmaceutical research and development company specializing in oncology. CytRx currently is focused on the clinical development of aldoxorubicin (formerly known as INNO-206), its improved version of the widely used chemotherapeutic agent doxorubicin. CytRx has completed a global Phase 2b clinical trial with aldoxorubicin as a first-line therapy for soft tissue sarcomas, a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial primarily in the same indication, a Phase 1b study of aldoxorubicin in combination with doxorubicin in patients with advanced solid tumors and a Phase 1b pharmacokinetics clinical trial in patients with metastatic solid tumors. CytRx has initiated under a special protocol assessment a pivotal Phase 3 global trial with aldoxorubicin as a therapy for patients with soft tissue sarcomas whose tumors have progressed following treatment with chemotherapy, and recently announced that it has received approval from the FDA to continue dosing patients with aldoxorubicin until disease progression in that clinical trial. CytRx has initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial with aldoxorubicin in patients with late-stage glioblastoma (brain cancer), and a Phase 2 clinical trial in HIV-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. CytRx plans to expand its pipeline of oncology candidates based on a linker platform technology that can be utilized with multiple chemotherapeutic agents and may allow for greater concentration of drug at tumor sites. CytRx also has rights to two additional drug candidates, tamibarotene and bafetinib. CytRx completed its evaluation of bafetinib in the ENABLE Phase 2 clinical trial in high-risk B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), and plans to seek a partner for further development of bafetinib. For more information about CytRx Corporation, visit www.cytrx.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the events or results described in the forward-looking statements, including risks relating to the outcome, timing and results of CytRx’s clinical trials, the risk that any future human testing of aldoxorubicin, might not produce results similar to those seen in past human or animal testing, risks related to CytRx’s ability to manufacture its drug candidates in a timely fashion, cost-effectively or in commercial quantities in compliance with stringent regulatory requirements, risks related to CytRx’s need for additional capital or strategic partnerships to fund its ongoing working capital needs and development efforts, including the Phase 3 clinical development of aldoxorubicin, and the risks and uncertainties described in the most recent annual and quarterly reports filed by CytRx with the Securities and Exchange Commission and current reports filed since the date of CytRx’s most recent annual report. All forward-looking statements are based upon information available to CytRx on the date the statements are first published. CytRx undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.