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Phase I/II trial to be initiated for drug with promising cancer fighting abilities

BTG : 03 October, 2006  (Company News)
BTG, the global technology commercialisation company, today announced plans for the further development of a potential treatment for gastrointestinal cancers such as gastric and pancreatic. The drug, BGC 9331, which is a non-polyglutamatable thymidylate synthase inhibitor, will be investigated in a phase I/II trial for its use as a first-line treatment for gastric cancer.
Worldwide, gastric cancer is the second most common cancer, causing approximately 750,000 deaths each year (WHO statistics). In the UK alone, there will be more than 9,700 new cases of gastric cancer in 2003, and it is the sixth most common cancer (Cancer Research UK).

The drug (previously known as ZD9331) originated from a collaboration between the Cancer Research UK Centre for Cancer Therapeutics at The Institute of Cancer Research (Sutton, UK), AstraZeneca UK Ltd and BTG. AstraZeneca was granted rights to develop and market the drug and undertook an extensive pre-clinical and clinical development program, in which they performed over 20 trials involving nearly 1000 patients.

BTG has now acquired the commercial rights to BGC 9331, along with the comprehensive pre-clinical and clinical data package. Recently, an independent scientific advisory board made up of expert clinical oncologists reviewed the data and recommended that further clinical trials were warranted due to the encouraging efficacy in advanced gastrointestinal tumours such as pancreatic and gastric. After completion of the upcoming trial, BTG will seek a partner to further develop and commercialise this technology.

“In a previous phase II trial in gastric cancer, there was an overall objective response rate of 25%, a rate in line with combination therapy responses and higher than the majority of single-agent chemotherapy treatments,” said Professor Stan Kaye of The Institute for Cancer Research. “And the estimated median survival was 384 days, which is longer than most chemotherapy agents, single or combination, for patients with advanced gastric cancer1. If this can be confirmed in further trials, it would be an attractive treatment option for gastric cancer patients.”

“BTG has an excellent track record in identifying novel cancer therapies, helping build them into attractive opportunities through patent management and technical development, and then marketing them to the pharmaceutical industry,” said Anthony V. Lando, BTG’s Chief Operating Officer. “BTG has demonstrated this ability with compounds such as Campath, and we believe we can replicate that success with BGC 9331.”
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