Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:SNSS) today announced that it has completed formal End-of-Phase 2 meetings with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) related to its lead compound, voreloxin, in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Sunesis has received feedback and guidance from the FDA in response to proposed plans for further development of voreloxin in the treatment of AML.
Based on the development clarity achieved as a result of these meetings, Sunesis intends to proceed with its plan to conduct a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, pivotal Phase 3 trial. This trial will evaluate the overall survival of voreloxin in combination with cytarabine, a widely used chemotherapy in AML, compared to cytarabine with placebo, in patients with relapsed or refractory AML. Sunesis anticipates initiating this multi-national, Phase 3 trial in the second half of 2010.
Sunesis also reported today that, as part of its global development strategy, a pre-submission meeting has been scheduled for the current calendar quarter with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to obtain EMA's scientific advice on the development program for voreloxin, including the proposed Phase 3 trial.
"We are very pleased by the outcomes of these milestone meetings with the FDA and are looking forward to initiating our multi-national Phase 3 trial," stated Daniel Swisher, Chief Executive Officer of Sunesis. "We believe that voreloxin's novel anti-leukemic properties and encouraging Phase 2 clinical data hold significant potential in a patient population with few treatment options. As we evaluate how best to fund our voreloxin development program, including our planned Phase 3 trial, we are continuing discussions with potential pharmaceutical partners."
Voreloxin is a first-in-class anticancer quinolone derivative, or AQD, a class of compounds that has not been used previously for the treatment of cancer. Voreloxin both intercalates DNA and inhibits topoisomerase II, resulting in replication-dependent, site-selective DNA damage, G2 arrest and apoptosis. Voreloxin is currently being evaluated in a fully enrolled single agent Phase 2 clinical trial (known as the REVEAL-1 trial) in previously untreated elderly AML patients and in a fully enrolled Phase 1b/2 clinical trial combining voreloxin with cytarabine for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory AML. A Phase 2 single agent trial in platinum-resistant ovarian cancer has also completed enrollment. Sunesis anticipates initiating a Phase 3 trial of voreloxin in AML in the second half of 2010.
About Acute Myeloid Leukemia
AML is a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood characterized by the uncontrolled proliferation of immature blast cells in the bone marrow. The National Cancer Institute estimated that nearly 13,000 new cases of AML were diagnosed and approximately 9,000 deaths from AML occurred in the U.S. in 2009. Additionally, it is estimated that prevalence of AML is approximately 25,000 in the U.S. AML is generally a disease of older adults, and the median age of a patient diagnosed with AML is about 67 years. AML patients with relapsed or refractory disease and newly diagnosed AML patients over 60 years of age with poor prognostic risk factors typically die within one year, resulting in an acute need for new treatment options for these patients.
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