Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Announces Phase 1 Data of Single Agent Perifosine in the Treatment of Recurrent Pediatric Solid Tumors, Including Patients with Advanced Brain Tumors and Neuroblastoma

Perifosine demonstrated to be safe and tolerable, with early signs of clinical benefit in advanced refractory pediatric neuroblastoma patients

NEW YORK, June 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:KERX) today announced that Phase 1 data of KRX-0401 (perifosine) in recurrent pediatric solid tumors was presented yesterday in the pediatric solid tumor poster discussion session held at the 46th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) taking place in Chicago, IL. Perifosine is the Company's novel, potentially first-in-class, oral anti-cancer agent that inhibits Akt activation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. This study, conducted by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center pediatric group, marks the first time that perifosine has been administered in a pediatric patient setting.
 

Study Design: This Phase I Study of Perifosine for Recurrent Pediatric Solid Tumors is a single center, open-label, dose-escalating study to assess safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics (PK), and to identify any dose limiting toxicity (DLT) of single agent perifosine in pediatric patients with any solid tumor that has failed standard therapy. Eleven patients (4 males, 7 females), at a median age of 13 years (5-18) were treated in this study to date. The following tumor types were treated thus far: high-grade glioma (5), medulloblastoma (2), neuroblastoma (3), and ependymoma (1). Most patients were heavily pretreated, with a median of three prior lines of therapy. Cohorts of three patients were treated at three dose levels: 25mg/m2/day, 50mg/m2/day and 75mg/m2/day using 50mg tablets of perifosine after a loading dose on day 1, and taking into account the drug's long half-life (>100hrs). No DLTs were observed at any of the three dose levels; dose level 4 is currently open for accrual. PK data thus far suggests similar drug absorption by pediatric patients relative to adult patients treated with single agent perifosine.
 

Of particular interest are the early signs of clinical activity observed in two of the three patients with Stage 4 refractory neuroblastoma. Both patients were refractory to prior treatments upon entering the study and achieved stable disease for 48 weeks and 55+ weeks (ongoing). The investigators concluded that perifosine is well-tolerated in children with recurrent solid tumors and that these early signals of activity warrant further investigation in patients with advanced neuroblastoma and select brain tumors. Recently, NCI investigators published in vitro and in vivo data demonstrating that perifosine targets the activation of Akt in neuroblastoma cells and xenografts, significantly inhibits tumor growth in vivo and improves the survival of mice bearing neuroblastoma tumors.
 

Ron Bentsur, Chief Executive Officer of Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, commented, "We are pleased at the safety and tolerability of single agent perifosine in pediatric patients and encouraged by the early signals of clinical benefit in neuroblastoma, as noted by the investigators. We are grateful to the researchers and we look forward to exploring perifosine's potential in future pediatric settings, including neuroblastoma."
 

Perifosine is currently in Phase 3 clinical development for refractory advanced colorectal cancer and multiple myeloma, both of these Phase 3 programs being conducted under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreements with the FDA with Fast Track designations obtained for both indications. Perifosine is also in Phase 1 and 2 clinical development for several other tumor types.
 

A copy of the related abstract, #9540, entitled "Phase I Study of Single Agent Perifosine for Recurrent Pediatric Solid Tumors," lead author Oren J. Becher, M.D., can be accessed through the ASCO website, www.asco.org. A copy of the poster may be obtained by contacting the Company.
 

KRX-0401 (perifosine) is in-licensed by Keryx from Aeterna Zentaris Inc. in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
 

About Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.
 

Keryx Biopharmaceuticals is focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of medically important pharmaceutical products for the treatment of life-threatening diseases, including cancer and renal disease. Keryx is developing KRX-0401 (perifosine), a novel, potentially first-in-class, oral anti-cancer agent that inhibits Akt activation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway, and also affects a number of other key signal transduction pathways, including the JNK pathway, all of which are pathways associated with programmed cell death, cell growth, cell differentiation and cell survival. KRX-0401 has demonstrated both safety and clinical efficacy in several tumor types, both as a single agent and in combination with novel therapies. KRX-0401 is currently in Phase 3 clinical development for both refractory advanced colorectal cancer and multiple myeloma, and in Phase 1 and 2 clinical development for several other tumor types. Each of the KRX-0401 Phase 3 programs are being conducted under Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) agreements with the FDA. Keryx is also developing Zerenex(TM) (ferric citrate), an oral, iron-based compound that has the capacity to bind to phosphate and form non-absorbable complexes. The Phase 3 clinical program of Zerenex in the treatment for hyperphosphatemia (elevated phosphate levels) in patients with end-stage renal disease is being conducted pursuant to an SPA agreement with the FDA. Keryx is headquartered in New York City.
 

Cautionary Statement
 

Some of the statements included in this press release, particularly those anticipating future clinical trials and business prospects for KRX-0401 (perifosine), may be forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Among the factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially are the following: our ability to successfully and cost-effectively complete clinical trials for KRX-0401; the risk that the data (both safety and efficacy) from ongoing clinical trials will not coincide with the data analyses from prior pre-clinical and clinical trials previously reported by the Company; and other risk factors identified from time to time in our reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statements set forth in this press release speak only as of the date of this press release. We do not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that occur after the date hereof. This press release and prior releases are available at http://www.keryx.com/. The information found on our website and the ASCO website is not incorporated by reference into this press release and is included for reference purposes only.
 

  KERYX CONTACT:
  Lauren Fischer
  Director - Investor Relations
  Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.
  Tel: 212.531.5965
  E-mail: lfischer@keryx.com

Source: Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.

CONTACT: Lauren Fischer, Director - Investor Relations, Keryx
Biopharmaceuticals, Inc., +1-212-531-5965, lfischer@keryx.com
 

Web Site: http://www.keryx.com/
 

Posted: June 2010

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