Novogen Terminates Preclinical Program, Will Cut an Undisclosed Number of Jobs

Published: Apr 06, 2017

Novogen Terminates Preclinical Program, Will Cut an Undisclosed Number of Jobs April 6, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

Novogen , based in Sydney, Australia, announced today that it is terminating its ATM-3507 (Anisina) preclinical program. As a result, the company plans to lay off an unspecified number of staff.

Anisina was being developed as a cancer treatment. It belongs to a first-in-class family of molecules that target a core component of the microfilaments of cancer cells, Tropomyosin Tpm3.1 Cancer cells are very dependent on Tpm3.1 for survival. Targeted inhibition of Tpm3.1 causes the collapse of the cancer cells’ actin cytoskeleton, causing cell death.

The company’s internal Scientific Committee of the Board of Directors decided that the preclinical data wasn’t strong enough to support clinical trials and the likelihood of commercial success was low. “In particular,” the company stated, “a level of toxicity was observed that raised significant concern around the ability to safely dose patients to a therapeutic level. In addition, the recent evolution of the treatment landscape for patients with the kinds of cancer in which Anisina might be tested suggested that there would likely be regulatory and commercial barriers to success.”

Novogen plans to continue its two clinical programs, GDC-0084 in glioblastoma multiforme, and TRXE-002-01 (Cantrixil) in ovarian cancer. Also, its CRC-P grant for next-generation ATM will not be affected.

The company expects the intellectual property associated with the program to revert to Genescreen, which it licensed in 2013.

“The work that has been done on the Anisina program has been first-class, and it is important to acknowledge the efforts of the many dedicated scientists that have been involved,” said James Garner, Novogen’s chief executive officer, in a statement. “However, our responsibility to patients and to shareholders lies in taking forward only those development programs which are likely to provide benefit in the treatment of cancer. Our view is that the data that has been collected for Anisina does not, in aggregate, make it an appropriate candidate for clinical development.”

Peter Gunning, who is one of the inventors listed on the patent covering ATM-3507, will remain on the company’s Scientific Advisory Board. He discovered the anti-tropomyosin technology. In a statement, Gunning said, “We remain fundamentally confident that targeting tropomyosin is a sound approach to the development of new cancer therapies. While this program has ultimately yielded mixed results, much has been learned that will no doubt help enormously to advance both the development of new ATM drugs and the basic science in the field.”

On February 9, Novogen announced that it had received a $3 million, three-year grant from the Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) to develop a next-generation anti-tropomyosin program, specific to its ATM-3507 (Anisina). This work is separate and distinct from its preclinical ATM-3507 program.

In addition, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) will contribute up to $300,000 in addition to the $3 million grant. Also involved is ICP Firefly Pty, a privately-held contract research organization (CRO) based in Sydney, Australia.

“We are extremely honored to receive this important grant from the Federal Government,” said David Brown, Novogen’s chief scientific officer, in a statement. “I would like to congratulate Stephen Palmer, Program Director for the project, who has worked tirelessly over the past six months to put forward a compelling application for this highly competitive award.”

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