DelMar Pharmaceuticals Welcomes Dr. John de Groot, Chairman, ad interim of the Department of Neuro-Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, as founding member of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board
Dr. Napoleone Ferrara, a Member of DelMar Pharmaceuticals Board Will Serve as the Chairman of the SAB
VANCOUVER, British Columbia and MENLO PARK, Calif., April 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — DelMar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: DMPI) (“DelMar” or the “Company”), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of new cancer therapies, announced today the formation of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Its inaugural members are Drs. Napoleone Ferrara and John de Groot. Dr. John de Groot, Chairman, ad interim of the Department of Neuro-Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center, is an expert in glioma biology and angiogenesis, which is the key area of clinical development for VAL-083, the Company’s lead asset. Dr. Ferrara is a world-renowned molecular biologist whose pioneering work on the identification of VEGF led to the development of Avastin, Roche’s multibillion dollar cancer agent indicated for the treatment of GBM as well as numerous other solid tumors. Dr. Ferrara will continue his role as a member of DelMar’s Board of Directors and serve as the SAB’s Chairman.
“I am extremely passionate about the neuro-oncology field and in fact, have spent a great deal of time in the antiangiogenic space in pursuit of therapies to treat GBM, which is of course an important indication for VAL-083,” commented Dr. de Groot. “I’m truly honored to join this SAB to help facilitate the scientific exploration of VAL-083 which clearly has demonstrated compelling potential to be an effective DNA-targeting agent for multiple drug resistant solid tumors.”
Dr. John de Groot is a Professor, and Chairman ad interim, in the Department of Neuro-Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is an expert in the fields of glioma angiogenesis and molecularly targeted therapy. He completed his medical education at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, and pursued internship and residency at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Following a clinical fellowship at MD Anderson, Dr. de Groot joined the faculty in 2004. His translational research program has produced critical insights into how gliomas respond to and resist killing by anti-angiogenic agents and illuminated therapeutic approaches employed in clinical trials to overcome this resistance. Dr. de Groot has also significantly contributed to the discovery of biomarkers of response and progression in glioblastoma patients treated with anti-angiogenic therapy, and as a result has opened multiple biomarker-driven clinical trials. Dr. de Groot has served as the principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator on multiple funded National Cancer Institute, foundation, and industry-sponsored grants. He is the PI of numerous clinical trials involving novel agents being tested in patients with glioblastoma and is a leader of MD Anderson’s Glioblastoma Moon Shot. Dr. de Groot has eighty peer reviewed articles. He is or has been a peer reviewer for 23 scientific journals, both national and international, and is on four editorial review boards.
“I’m thrilled by the opportunity to play a role in a formal advisory group that is dedicated to optimizing VAL-083’s potential across multiple oncology indications. Furthermore, being able to work alongside Dr. de Groot is particularly exciting given his prolific expertise in the field of glioma angiogenesis and together, we look forward to adding several additional oncology experts to the team,” commented Dr. Napoleone Ferrara, world renowned scientist, Board Member of Delmar Pharmaceuticals and Distinguished Professor of Pathology and a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology and Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego.
The SAB will work closely with DelMar’s management team to optimize the Company’s platform asset, VAL-083, a “first-in-class,” small-molecule chemotherapeutic with a novel mechanism of action that has demonstrated clinical activity against a range of cancers including central nervous system, ovarian and other solid tumors. Currently, VAL-083 is being studied in two collaborator-supported, biomarker-driven, Phase 2 clinical trials for MGMT-unmethylated GBM.
Dr. Napoleone Ferrara has served as a Director of DelMar since June 22, 2018. Dr. Ferrara is currently a distinguished professor of pathology and a distinguished adjunct professor of ophthalmology and pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego. Previously, he held increasingly senior positions at Genentech, Inc., over a 24-year period, including fellow, staff scientist and senior scientist. He is a pioneer in the study of angiogenesis biology and identification of its regulators. Dr. Ferrara’s lab is responsible for discovering the isolation and cDNA cloning of VEGF and demonstrated that VEGF was a major mediator of tumor angiogenesis leading to the development of Avastin® (bevacizumab). Additionally, his lab’s studies led to the clinical development of an anti-VEGF antibody fragment, Lucentis® (ranibizumab), as a highly effective therapy preventing vision loss in intraocular neovascular disorders. Dr. Ferrara has been the recipient of over 60 awards/honors, given more than 300 presentations, authored over 70 patents, and written more than 300 articles, reviews/editorials and published book chapters. He received his fellowship training and postdoctoral research from the University of California, San Francisco, his M.D. (cum laude) and residency training from the University of Catania Medical School, and his Maturita’ Classica from Liceo Classico Mario Cutelli.
VAL-083 (Dianhydrogalactitol) is a novel bi-functional DNA targeting agent that rapidly induces interstrand cross-links at N7-guanine, leading to DNA double-strand breaks and ultimately cell death. VAL-083’s unique cytotoxic mechanism circumvents MGMT mediated chemoresistance and differentiates it from other therapies used in the treatment of GBM, including TMZ. This makes VAL-083 an ideal candidate to explore treating patients who are unlikely to respond to TMZ due to MGMT expression in their GBM as per the 2017 National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines.
VAL-083 has been granted orphan drug designations by the U.S. FDA Office of Orphan Products for the treatment of glioma, medulloblastoma and ovarian cancer, and in Europe for the treatment of malignant gliomas. VAL-083 has been granted fast-track status for the treatment of recurrent GBM by the US FDA.
About DelMar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
DelMar is focused on the development and commercialization of new therapies for cancer patients who have limited or no treatment options. By focusing on understanding tumor biology and mechanisms of treatment resistance, the Company identifies biomarkers to personalize new therapies in indications where patients are failing, or are unable to tolerate, standard-of-care treatments.
The Company’s current pipeline is based around VAL-083, a “first-in-class,” small-molecule chemotherapeutic with a novel mechanism of action that has demonstrated clinical activity against a range of cancers including central nervous system, ovarian and other solid tumors (e.g. NSCLC, bladder cancer, head & neck) in U.S. clinical trials sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Based on DelMar’s internal research programs, and these prior NCI-sponsored clinical studies, the Company is conducting clinical trials to support the development and commercialization of VAL-083 to solve significant unmet medical needs.
VAL-083 is being studied in two collaborator-supported, biomarker-driven, Phase 2 clinical trials for MGMT-unmethylated GBM. Overcoming MGMT-mediated resistance represents a significant unmet medical need in the treatment of GBM. In addition, DelMar has announced the allowance of a separate IND for VAL-083 as a potential treatment for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
Further information on DelMar’s clinical trials can be found on clinicaltrials.gov: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=&term=val-083&cntry1=&state1=&recrs
Safe Harbor Statement
Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the Phase 2 clinical trial discussed above and the current results and outcomes of such trial. Any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on current expectations but are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. The factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the Company’s ability to develop, market and sell products based on its technology; the expected benefits and efficacy of the Company’s products and technology; the availability of substantial additional funding for the Company to continue its operations and to conduct research and development, clinical studies and future product commercialization; and, the Company’s business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies. These and other factors are identified and described in more detail in the Company’s filings with the SEC, including, the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 30, 2018, the Company’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, and the Company’s Current Reports on Form 8-K.
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