RXi expands patent portfolio for breast cancer NeuVax drug Print E-mail
By Olivia D'Orazio-Proactiveinvestors.com   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:37
Biotech company RXi Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RXII) announced Wednesday it acquired new patent rights covering the use of its NeuVax drug in combination with trastuzumab (Herceptin), and the use of the drug to treat breast cancer patients not eligible for Herceptin.

RXi licensed the new patents, which expand its worldwide rights to the drug, from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine (HJF).

The company achieved top-line results in its June phase 2 study of NeuVax, in combination with Herceptin, which found zero recurrence in HER2 over-expressing patients after 48 months.

Breast cancer that tests positive for HER2, a type of protein, is particularly aggressive, as  elevated levels of the protein promotes the growth of cancer cells.

Approximately 75% of all women with breast cancer test positive for the HER2 receptor, yet only 25% are eligible for the Herceptin treatment, which uses the trastuzumab antibody to inhibit the HER2 protein.

NeuVax, which is administered via intradermal injection once a month for six months, followed by a booster injection once every six months, uses a peptide derived from the HER2 receptor that, when combined with the trastumuzumab antibody, stimulates the body's fighting T-cells to target any cells expressing the HER2 gene.

"Strengthening the breadth and depth of our intellectual property portfolio is critical to building value and the foundation of our NeuVax strategy," said president and CEO, Mark J. Ahn.

"We look forward to initiating the NeuVax Phase 3 clinical trial in breast cancer, which is targeted to begin in the first half of 2012."

The phase 3 study, dubbed 'PRESENT,' will use the additional patents to evaluate NeuVax's efficacy in early-stage breast cancer patients, with low to intermediate HER2 expression.

Based on its phase 2 results, RXi, whose stock on the NASDAQ rose 5.8% in early trading today, to $1.46 per share, was granted a Special Protocol Assessment by the FDA to begin the phase 3 trial.


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