FASgen Announces Significant Milestone in Its Cancer DrugDevelopment Program
BALTIMORE, October 01, 2007 /PRNewswire/ -- FASgen's fatty acid synthase inhibitor (FASi) compounds, led by FAS031, have demonstrated efficacy against every solid tumor xenograft cell line tested, in both orthotopic and flank models: 4 lung tumor cell lines (H460; A549; H1975; LX7); two ovarian; breast; and, colon. In many cases the tumors were eradicated entirely. The compounds have been shown in extensive preclinical studies to be remarkably safe and orally available. One compound was safely given to mice twice a day orally for 6 months with no observed adverse side effects except the elimination of the tumors. Other compounds were given to mice in a two year experiment and prevented the onset of tumors in nearly one-third of the mice. That experiment was repeated with a different compound and produced the same result. Several of these results have been recently published and others will shortly be published in leading oncology journals.
FASi is a new mechanism of action for the treatment of cancer. The fatty acid biosynthesis pathway is critical to all living organisms to produce fat and regulate the body's energy. In cancer cells, FASgen researchers over the last 15 years have discovered that the mechanism acts differently. As cancer cells do not produce fat, the fatty acid biosynthesis pathway in the transformed cell acts to regulate the energy source that keeps the cell alive. One critical enzyme in that pathway is FAS. The Company's researchers have discovered that inhibition of FAS kills the cancer cell, a result that has been recently replicated in a number of labs and become the subject of a series of new publications. FASgen has developed a library of FASi compounds and has an extensive body of intellectual property surrounding both the mechanism of action and uses for the compounds, and of course the composition of individual compounds. "This discovery holds out the prospect for a new method of treatment for cancer that is remarkably safe and may diminish or even avoid many of the adverse side effects on existing chemotherapeutic drugs," said Dr. Frank Kuhajda, FASgen's chief scientific advisor and a founder of the company.
The Company is pleased with the news that NCI has agreed to support the development of these compounds at The Johns Hopkins Oncology Center through a grant to Hopkins for research into treatment of lung cancer and has been separately supporting the Company with grant funding for ovarian cancer. The Company is developing the clinical trial program to test these compounds in Phase I/II trials at Hopkins and other centers. "This news has changed the direction of the Company from a research organization to a drug development company, and, of course, has increased the need for funding. After 7 years of research, the Company is now seeking its first major round of outside financing," said Eric F. Stoer, Chairman of Board.
About FASgen, Inc.: FASgen, Inc. is a drug development company founded in 2000 by four distinguished Johns Hopkins researchers to create new therapeutic products based on the selective inhibition of fatty acid biosynthesis. The Company has the exclusive license from Johns Hopkins to more than 15 years of research in the field, which research continues under a sponsored research agreement with the University.
The Company has designed and synthesized many compounds that selectively inhibit fatty acid biosynthesis. One group of these compounds holds great promise for new a highly specific therapeutics for cancer; additional compounds have the potential of specific therapeutics for obesity and related metabolic disorders, and yet an additional group of compounds have the potential of specific therapeutics for TB, including multiple drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) and latent TB infections that affect one third of the world's population.
Posted: October 2007