VANCOUVER, British Columbia and SAN DIEGO, Feb. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Phoenix Molecular Designs (PhoenixMD), a privately-held biotechnology company designing precise cancer therapeutics by targeting essential kinases, announced today that Dr. Sandra Dunn, PhoenixMD’s Chief Executive Officer, will be presenting at BIOCOM’s 2019 Global Life Science Partnering Conference being held at The Lodge at Torrey Pines in San Diego, CA.
Details of the presentation are as follows:
Event: BIOCOM 2019 Global Life Science Partnering Conference
Date: Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Time: 2:45 PM
The presentation will include an overview on the company’s approach to treating cancer and its lead program, PMD-026, the first RSK inhibitor purpose-built for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). PMD-026 was precisely designed for TNBC because RSK2 was specifically identified as the key kinase that drives the growth of this breast cancer subtype relative to hormone positive or Her-2 positive breast cancers. RSK2 was identified in a functional screen profiling 519 potential kinases. PMD-026 is the first drug to specifically arise from functional dependency screens in TNBC. PMD-026 is applicable to greater than 14 different types of cancers including those resistant to a wide range of therapies. Their goal is to develop a cancer agnostic approach to treating cancers that rely on RSK2.
The first in human clinical trial for PMD-026 is a Phase 1/1b that is scheduled to initiate in mid- 2019. Importantly, the clinical trial will include a companion diagnostic (CDx) that links PMD-026 to RSK2 activation in tumors, which PMD is developing through a collaboration with Roche. In preclinical studies, PMD-026 shrinks tumors by over 70% as a single agent after only two weeks of treatment in tumors with high RSK2 activation using their CDx for model selection.
PMD-026 is shown to unlock the potential of tumor resistance by synergizing with chemotherapies such as paclitaxel. More recently, PMD-026 demonstrates the potential to reprogram the way that TNBC is recognized by the immune system, in part, by inhibiting PD-L1.
About Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) and RSK Kinases
Approximately 400,000 cases of TNBC are diagnosed every year worldwide and it is one of the most difficult breast cancer subtypes to treat due to lack of effective, targeted therapies. TNBC also claims the lives of young women more than any other type of breast cancer due to a lack of understanding around the therapeutic bullseye. It is also a very heterogeneous disease, therefore a common denominator across TNBC types was necessary to identify the bullseye. Through genome-wide screens, RSK was identified as the prime target for TNBC by scientists at PhoenixMD. Currently, there are still no targeted therapies available for TNBC.
There are four types of RSK involved in cancer, known as RSK1-4, and each type has a unique role in the development of the disease. RSK1 is responsible for cancer cell invasion and is an important driver in the spread of cancer. RSK2 controls cancer cell growth, and RSK3 and RSK4 are associated with drug resistance.
RSK1 and RSK2 have been proven critical to the survival of patients with TNBC. Over 90% of primary TNBC express high levels of RSK1 and RSK2. Inhibiting RSK2 eliminates TNBC cells completely, including cancer stem cells, which give rise to cancer recurrence. PhoenixMD, with its novel, targeted approach, is focused on creating patented cancer RSK inhibitors and companion diagnostics for cancer indications – initially in breast cancer – with the potential to treat blood, brain, ovarian, lung, skin, prostate, colon, head and neck cancers.
Currently, there are no approved targeted therapies for TNBC, although several drugs are subject to research studies and clinical trials. PhoenixMD is addressing this unmet medical need through a novel, targeted approach by inhibiting critical kinases, such as RSK1-4, a group of highly conserved Ser/Thr kinases that promote cell proliferation, growth, motility and survival. For this target, PhoenixMD developed PMD-026, a first-in-class, specific RSK inhibitor that blocks downstream signaling of RSK and induces apoptosis.
PhoenixMD is a privately-held biopharmaceutical company designing precise cancer therapeutics and companion diagnostics by targeting kinases, a class of highly druggable enzymes to treat a wide range of oncology indications. PhoenixMD is focused on developing first-in-class inhibitors against ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK), an important drug target for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. Due to its emerging leadership in kinase inhibition, PhoenixMD has entered into partnerships with well-recognized academic, non-profit institutions and development companies such as the National Cancer Institute (NIH), University of Florida, Kyushu University, Mayo Clinic, University of HawaiiComprehensive Cancer Center and MD Anderson. PhoenixMD is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, with U.S. operations in San Diego, Calif. For more information, visit phoenixmd.ca.