Valirx plc, a London-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in oncology therapeutics and diagnostics with a particular focus on cancer treatments and associated biomarkers, is conducting a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of its drug candidate VAL201 on people with hormone-resistant prostate cancer. But the company may soon expand its VAL201 research to endometriosis.
VAL 201 is a novel approach to targeted cancer chemotherapy, designed to selectively stall tumor growth by preventing the proliferation of tumor cells while leaving DNA synthesis unaffected. The intended result is suppressed tumor growth and reduced metastasis.
VAlirx says its initial results indicate the new therapy is so specific that it is likely to be less toxic than other therapeutic options for prostate cancer, and to have fewer side effects than its marketed competitors. The targeted region is also associated with other cancers, so there is significant potential for VAL201 to be a treatment for breast and ovarian cancers, as well as for endometriosis, a non-cancerous but frequently debilitating female gynecological disorder. Initial data confirms likely effectiveness in these areas, the company reports.
In a recent quarterly update on the clinical trial, Valirx confirms that the VAL201 compound is proving well-tolerated up to a putative therapeutic dose and showing a high degree of safety, with no treatment-related significant adverse events reported. Other measurements are also consistent and comparable to results seen in the pre-clinical studies, both in vivo and in vitro, that demonstrated its efficacy.
Indeed, Valirx is so encouraged by current trial results of the VAL201 compound with respect to tolerability and safety, and by promising pre-clinical evidence of its efficacy in the treatment of endometriosis, that the company has commenced design of a protocol to test VAL201 in endometriosis patients.
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) establish themselves outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the ovaries, in colonies called “implants.” The uterine cavity is lined by endometrial cells, which are under the influence of female hormones — as are the endometrial-like cells in areas outside the uterus. These cells respond similarly to the cells inside the uterus, growing and bleeding during menstrual periods. Over time, the implants may add more tissue and blood, a buildup leading to increased pain and other disease symptoms.
Endometriosis symptoms often worsen with the menstrual cycle, and can be debilitating. They also typically manifest during a woman’s reproductive years and represent one of the major causes of female infertility.
ValiRx cites projections that the global endometriosis treatment market will reach $1.3 billion by 2017, and that the disease remains a common health problem among women, affecting at least 170 million women globally — an estimate widely considered significantly lower than the actual numbers.
For more information, visit www.valirx.com.