Jennerex Reports Positive Mechanistic Proof-of-Concept Clinical Trial Results Using JX-594 to Treat Metastatic Melanoma

-- Data Published in Current Issue of Molecular Therapy --

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Jennerex, Inc., a private clinical-stage biotherapeutics company focused on the development and commercialization of first-in-class targeted oncolytic products for cancer, today announced that positive results from a proof-of-concept clinical trial using JX-594 to treat patients with metastatic melanoma were published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Therapy.

"This clinical trial in metastatic melanoma provides additional key information for our JX-594 program and complements the ongoing clinical development of JX-594, which is expected to enter a randomized Phase 2b trial in advanced liver cancer later this year," said David Kirn, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Jennerex. "Specifically, JX-594 replication was observed following multiple rounds of intratumoral JX-594 therapy, providing proof-of-concept data for the potential benefit of chronic administration regimens of the product."

The mechanistic proof-of-concept study enrolled 10 treatment-refractory Stage IV melanoma patients, eight of whom completed the study. All patients received up to nine weekly intratumoral injections of JX-594 at a low dose (less than 10 percent of the dose given in other JX-594 trials). Evidence of JX-594 activity was assessed in blood samples and tumor biopsies. Blood samples collected over the course of treatment demonstrated JX-594 replication after repeated dosing as well as the expression and functionality of JX-594 encoded transgenes. Tumor biopsies showed tumor cell necrosis (death) and immune cell recruitment into tumors. JX-594 was safe and well-tolerated, with flu-like symptoms as the most common side effect for patients.

JX-594: A Multi-Mechanistic Approach To Targeting Cancer

JX-594 is a proprietary, engineered oncolytic virus that is designed to selectively target and destroy cancer cells. JX-594 is designed to attack cancer through three diverse mechanisms of action: 1) the lysis of cancer cells through viral replication, 2) the reduction of the blood supply to tumors through vascular targeting and destruction, and 3) the stimulation of the body's immune response against cancer cells, i.e., active immunotherapy. Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials in multiple cancer types to date have shown that JX-594, delivered either directly into tumors or systemically, induces tumor shrinkage and/or necrosis and is well-tolerated by patients (over 100 treated to date). Objective tumor responses have been demonstrated in a variety of cancers including liver, colon, kidney, lung and melanoma. JX-594 has a favorable safety profile with predictable and generally mild side effects that typically include flu-like symptoms that resolve in 48 to 72 hours.

The poxvirus strain backbone of JX-594 has been used safely in millions of people as part of a worldwide vaccination program. This strain naturally targets cancer cells due to common genetic defects in cancer cells. JX-594 was engineered to enhance this natural safety and cancer-selectivity by deleting its thymidine kinase (TK) gene, thus making it dependent on the cellular TK expressed at persistently high levels in cancer cells. To enhance product efficacy, JX-594 is also engineered to express the GM-CSF protein. GM-CSF complements the cancer cell lysis work of the product candidate, leading to a cascade of events resulting in tumor necrosis, tumor vasculature shutdown and an anti-tumoral immune attack.

About Jennerex's Partners for JX-594

Transgene (NYSE Euronext Paris: FR0005175080), a bio-pharmaceutical company specialized in the development of immunotherapeutic products, holds an exclusive license to develop and commercialize JX-594 in Europe and neighboring countries. Green Cross Corporation, a leading company in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of viral vaccines and other biological products, holds an exclusive license to develop and commercialize JX-594 in South Korea, and Lee's Pharmaceutical Ltd. holds an exclusive license to develop and commercialize JX-594 in China.

Transgene, a member of the Institut Merieux Group, is a publicly traded French biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the development of therapeutic vaccines and immunotherapeutic products in oncology and infectious diseases, and has five compounds in clinical development: TG4010 and JX-594 (TG6006) having completed initial phase II trials, TG4001 in phase IIb trial, TG4040 in phase II trial and TG4023 in phase I trial. Transgene has concluded strategic agreements for the development of two of its immunotherapy products, an option agreement with Novartis for the development of TG4010 to treat various cancers, and an in-licensing agreement with U.S.-based Jennerex Biotherapeutics, Inc., to develop and market JX-594 (TG6006), an oncolytic product. Transgene has bio-manufacturing capacities for viral-based products. Additional information about Transgene is available on the internet at www.transgene.fr

Green Cross Corp. is a publicly traded and leading Korean biopharmaceutical company specialized in development and commercialization of vaccines, plasma-derivatives, recombinant proteins and therapeutic antibodies in oncology and infectious diseases. Green Cross Corp. has been collaborating with Jennerex in Korea since 2006 to jointly conduct the Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials in patients with liver cancer. Additional information about Green Cross Corp. is available on the internet at www.greencross.com.

Lee's Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited is a public biopharmaceutical company with over 16 years operation in China's pharmaceutical industry. It is fully integrated with solid infrastructures in drug development, clinical development, regulatory, manufacturing, sales and marketing in China with global perspectives and currently markets nine products. Lee's Pharma focuses on several different areas such as cardiovascular and infectious diseases, dermatology, oncology, gynecology and others. It has more than 30 products under different development stages stemming from both internal R&D as well as from the recent acquisition of licensing and distribution rights from various U.S. and European companies. The mission of Lee's is to become a successful biopharmaceutical group in Asia providing innovative products to fight diseases and improve health and quality of life. Additional information about Lee's Pharma is available on the internet at www.leespharm.com.

About Jennerex

Jennerex, Inc. is a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company focused on the development and commercialization of first-in-class, breakthrough targeted oncolytic products for cancer. The Company's lead product JX-594 is currently in two Phase 2 clinical trials in patients with primary liver cancer—an international, randomized, Phase 2 clinical trial, and a Phase 2 study of JX-594 in combination with sorafenib. Published studies designed to establish optimal dose levels and the safety profile of JX-594 have shown its ability to selectively target and cause destruction of a variety of common cancer types. JX-594 and other product candidates under development are designed to attack cancer tumors through three diverse mechanisms of action: the lysis of cancer cells through viral replication, the ablation of the blood supply to tumors through vascular targeting and destruction and the stimulation of the body's immune response against the cancer. Jennerex is headquartered in San Francisco and has related research and development operations in Ottawa, Canada and Pusan, South Korea. For more information about Jennerex, please visit www.jennerex.com.

 

SOURCE Jennerex, Inc.

Posted: August 2011

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