How is it doing
Immunotherapy treatment Clevegen is in a phase I/II trial (MATINS) for metastatic cutaneous melanoma as well as hepatobiliary/hepatocellular, pancreatic, ovarian and colorectal cancers.
Tumour cells are adept at creating a shield around themselves to evade detection by the immune system, therefore staving off destruction.
Clevegen has been designed to recognise cancer and break the cell’s protective shell.
The treatment is an anti-Clever-1 antibody which causes changes in the immune environment of solid tumours by switching Clever-1 positive immune suppressive macrophages to immune active macrophages.
Ultimately, if it is successful, this new breed of treatment will be used in combination with PD-1 inhibitors to tackle the killer disease.
In November, Faron raised £7.48mln via a placing of shares at 190p each, to finance part-two of the phase I/II MATINS trial of the drug in colorectal cancer.
After proving safe in initial tests, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA gave the green light to expand a phase I/II clinical trialin US.
By December, the company's first available read-out from seven patients showed that Clevegen can ‘down’ regulate a range of checkpoints that affect the immune system, which Faron said it was “very encouraged” to discover.
Clevegen has helped the company rebuild after a major disappointment with another drug Traumakine.
A phase III trial as a treatment for lung inflammation condition ARDS missed its target and there was no benefit against the placebo.
Faron (LON:FARN) is working with drug regulators to work out why the results were poor and is confident Traumakine can be of benefit to some patients.
What the boss says: Markku Jalkanen, CEO
“I think we made some really groundbreaking discoveries,” said Jalkanen about the early data from phase I/II MATINS trial of Clevegen.
Looking at the negative feedback checkpoint molecules in those same patients, Jalkanen says those are the cells where actually cancer has "shut off" immunity, in order to be able to grow in the patient.
“Now we have noticed that the treatment with Clevegen actually will suppress the expression of these molecules,” he said, including in naïve cells, which is “really exciting because it could really mean that we have an immune activation that could target new antigens, including cancer antigens”.
• Faron finds a partner from the many said to be watching MATINS trial data
• Shares have quintupled over the year, and picked up speed as MATINS trial data started to be released
• Traumakine reboots as a treatment for a specific type of ARDS sufferer who has a special type of genetic mutation known as C/T.