For immediate release
11 July 2017
Evgen Pharma plc
("Evgen Pharma" or "the Company")
Charity-funded Study of SFX-01 in Triple Negative Breast Cancer
Evgen Pharma (AIM: EVG), a clinical stage drug development company focused on the treatment of cancer and neurological conditions, announces that the Company's lead product, SFX-01, will be tested against triple negative breast cancer ("TNBC") in new preclinical research at the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, UK. This initiative is to be funded by a charitable donation from the Shine Bright Foundation, a UK charity focused on TNBC, to the University of Manchester, which is Evgen Pharma's long-standing research collaborator.
The new preclinical programme will investigate the effect of SFX-01, the Company's stable sulforaphane-based pharmaceutical development product, with and without chemotherapy, on patient-derived triple negative tumours in animal models.
This programme is in response to recently published* independent research at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States. The US research group has demonstrated that sulforaphane enhances the effectiveness of chemotherapy in TNBC. They conclude that their results "suggest that the treatment of TNBCs with cytotoxic chemotherapy would be greatly benefited by the addition of sulforaphane to prevent expansion of and eliminate breast cancer stem cells".
This US research provides a positive read-across for Evgen Pharma whose current Phase IIa study in advanced breast cancer is testing the hypothesis that SFX-01, by targeting breast cancer stem cells, may reduce resistance to hormone therapy.
Dr Stephen Franklin, CEO of Evgen Pharma, commented: "In our ongoing Phase IIa study, we are focusing on the more prevalent hormone-sensitive (ER+) breast cancer patient group. Our hypothesis, supported by a significant proportion of the research community, is that cancer stem cells drive the eventual resistance to hormone therapy in ER+ patients. Targeting these cells may therefore extend the period of time for which hormone therapy is effective or even reverse resistance. The same principle can be applied to resistance to chemotherapy and this is the effect that the University of Michigan researchers are observing. This is an exciting development for Evgen Pharma, suggesting that SFX-01 could have wider utility in oncology where resistance to mainstay therapies is a perennial issue."
Evgen Pharma plc
Dr Stephen Franklin, CEO
Richard Moulson, CFO
c/o +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Mark Court, Sophie Cowles, Stephanie Watson
+44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Northland Capital Partners Limited
Matthew Johnson, Gerry Beaney, Margarita Mitropoulou (Corporate Finance)
John Howes, Rob Rees (Corporate Broking)
+44 (0) 20 3861 6625
Notes for editors:
* Sulforaphane enhances the anticancer activity of taxanes against triple negative breast cancer by killing cancer stem cells. Burnett et al 2017, Cancer Lett. 394:52-64.
Abstract: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) typically exhibits rapid progression, high mortality and faster relapse rates relative to other breast cancer subtypes. In this report we examine the combination of taxanes (paclitaxel or docetaxel) with a breast cancer stem cell (CSC)-targeting agent sulforaphane for use against TNBC. We demonstrate that paclitaxel or docetaxel treatment induces IL-6 secretion and results in expansion of CSCs in TNBC cell lines. Conversely, sulforaphane is capable of preferentially eliminating CSCs, by inhibiting NF-κB p65 subunit translocation, downregulating p52 and consequent downstream transcriptional activity. Sulforaphane also reverses taxane-induced aldehyde dehydrogenase-positive (ALDH+) cell enrichment, and dramatically reduces the size and number of primary and secondary mammospheres formed. In vivo in an advanced treatment orthotopic mouse xenograft model together with extreme limiting dilution analysis (ELDA), the combination of docetaxel and sulforaphane exhibits a greater reduction in primary tumor volume and significantly reduces secondary tumor formation relative to either treatment alone. These results suggest that treatment of TNBCs with cytotoxic chemotherapy would be greatly benefited by the addition of sulforaphane to prevent expansion of and eliminate breast CSCs.
About Shine Bright Foundation
The Shine Bright Foundation is a Cheshire-based charity dedicated to "leading the fight against triple negative breast cancer". It was established to raise funds for research, raise awareness of TNBC and fund local treatments. Further information can be found at: www.shine-bright-foundation.org.uk/
About Evgen Pharma plc
Evgen Pharma is a clinical stage drug development company whose lead programmes are in breast cancer and subarachnoid haemorrhage, a type of stroke. It is also carrying out preclinical work in multiple sclerosis and has a clinical interest in prostate cancer. The Company's core technology is Sulforadex®, a method for synthesising and stabilising the naturally occurring compound sulforaphane and novel proprietary analogues based on sulforaphane. The lead product, SFX-01, is a patented composition of synthetic sulforaphane and alpha-cyclodextrin.
Evgen Pharma commenced operations in January 2008 and has its headquarters at The Colony, Wilmslow, Cheshire, and its registered office is at the Liverpool Science Park, Liverpool. It joined the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in October 2015 and trades under the ticker symbol EVG.
For further information, please visit: www.evgen.com
For commissioned research on the Company, please visit: http://evgen.com/investors/analyst-coverage/
This information is provided by RNS