Oncolytics Biotech® Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2021 Financial Results and Recent Operational Highlights
Randomized phase 2 metastatic breast cancer trial (BRACELET-1) on track for top-line data in Q4 2022
Clinical breast cancer data indicate pelareorep-induced changes in blood T cell populations may be a predictive biomarker – a key finding for de-risking a phase 3 registrational breast cancer study
Interim safety updates from clinical trials in triple-negative breast and gastrointestinal cancers further demonstrate the favorable safety profile of pelareorep-checkpoint inhibitor combinations
Strong financial position with approximately $41.3 million and cash runway through key milestones and into 2023
Management hosting conference call and webcast today at 5:00 p.m. ET
SAN DIEGO and CALGARY, AB, March 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Oncolytics Biotech Inc.® (NASDAQ: ONCY) (TSX: ONC) today announced recent operational highlights and financial results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2021. All dollar amounts are expressed in Canadian currency unless otherwise noted.
"We begin 2022 with a strong foundational dataset and potential value-inflection points expected across our pipeline throughout the year," said Dr. Matt Coffey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Oncolytics Biotech Inc. "Chief among these potential inflection points is the expected fourth quarter top-line data announcement for BRACELET-1, our randomized phase 2 trial in HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer. This trial builds upon prior clinical data demonstrating pelareorep's ability to deliver statistically significant survival benefits and synergize with checkpoint inhibition in breast cancer. Importantly, its completion represents the last major clinical step on our path to a registrational study."
Dr. Coffey continued, "Our efforts to advance towards our 2022 milestones are built upon the progress we made in 2021. Analyses from the AWARE-1 breast cancer trial highlight changes in peripheral blood T cell populations as a potential predictive biomarker that could markedly identify patients most likely to respond to pelareorep. The use of such a biomarker could improve our chances of success in subsequent trials and we are working to further its development as part of BRACELET-1. We are employing a similar strategy in our triple-negative breast and gastrointestinal cancer trials, which are showing positive progress following recent updates confirming the favorable safety profile of pelareorep-checkpoint inhibitor combinations. Looking ahead, we will continue to leverage partnerships with industry leaders and academia to advance pelareorep across a spectrum of indications while remaining primarily focused on completing the steps needed to begin a registrational breast cancer study."
Fourth Quarter and Subsequent Highlights
Breast Cancer Program
AWARE-1 data indicate that changes in peripheral blood T cell populations may be a predictive biomarker of pelareorep therapy
Recently announced analyses from AWARE-1's first two cohorts focused on changes in T cell populations from the peripheral blood and tumors of early-stage HR+/HER2- breast cancer patients following treatment with pelareorep and letrozole without (cohort 1) or with (cohort 2) the PD-L1 inhibitor atezolizumab. These changes were compared to the CelTIL score (a measure of tumor cellularity and inflammation) and tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells, two metrics that are associated with favorable clinical outcomes. Collectively, the analyses reinforced pelareorep's immunotherapeutic mechanism of action and its ability to synergize with checkpoint inhibitors such as atezolizumab. They also indicated that changes in peripheral blood T cell populations may predict responses to pelareorep therapy and could potentially serve as a blood-based biomarker to inform the selection of patients in future studies. This has the potential to significantly de-risk a phase 3 registrational trial and supports expansion into indications that have historically not responded to checkpoint blockade therapies.
Reported a positive interim safety update from the phase 2 IRENE trial at the 2021 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
IRENE is an investigator-sponsored, phase 2 trial designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pelareorep in combination with Incyte's anti-PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor retifanlimab for second- or third-line treatment of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) who failed prior chemotherapy. Safety data from the trial show that the combination has been well-tolerated, as no safety concerns were noted in any of the five patients enrolled in the trial at the time of reporting (link to PR, link to poster). In addition to evaluating the safety and efficacy of pelareorep plus retifanlimab, IRENE is also designed to assess changes in PD-L1 expression and correlations between treatment outcomes and changes in peripheral blood T cell populations. This could provide a potential biomarker of pelareorep response that may enable the success of future trials by allowing for the early identification of patients most likely to respond to therapy.
Partner Adlai Nortye advanced to the second dose escalation cohort of the Chinese bridging trial evaluating pelareorep-paclitaxel combination treatment in breast cancer
The bridging clinical trial is designed to satisfy Chinese regulatory requirements and thereby accelerate pelareorep's development in China, which comprises the world's second-largest pharmaceutical market. Advancement into the trial's second cohort followed the completion of dosing in the first cohort without any safety issues. The dose being evaluated in the second dose escalation cohort is equivalent to the dose administered in the IND-213 study, which reported a statistically significant near doubling of median survival in HR+/HER2- metastatic breast cancer patients. Results from the bridging trial are expected to allow Adlai Nortye to include data from IND-213 and Oncolytics' ongoing North American metastatic breast cancer trial, BRACELET-1, in future submissions to regulators in China and its territories.
Gastrointestinal Cancers Program
Reported positive interim safety and enrollment updates from phase 1/2 GOBLET trial
The GOBLET trial is being conducted by AIO, a leading academic cooperative medical oncology group based in Germany, and is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pelareorep in combination with Roche's anti-PD-L1 checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab in patients with advanced or metastatic pancreatic, colorectal, and anal cancers. The study design was featured in a poster at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (link to PR, link to poster) and included three-patient safety run-ins for two of its four cohorts (first-line advanced pancreatic cancer and third-line metastatic colorectal cancer). The pancreatic cancer cohort's safety run-in is fully enrolled and has been evaluated by the study's Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB). The DSMB noted no safety concerns and recommended the study proceed as planned. The safety run-in for the metastatic colorectal cancer cohort is fully enrolled and is awaiting DSMB review.
In addition to evaluating the safety and efficacy of pelareorep-atezolizumab treatment, GOBLET also seeks to assess the potential of CEACAM6 and T cell clonality as predictive biomarkers. An effective predictive biomarker could increase the likelihood of success of future registrational studies by allowing the selection of the most appropriate patients.
The trial builds on previously reported clinical proof-of-concept data for pelareorep-checkpoint inhibitor combination therapy in pancreatic cancer (link to PR, link to poster). It is also supported by prior early clinical data showing that pelareorep-based combination treatments stimulated an adaptive immune response and led to a greater than 90% clinical benefit rate in KRAS-mutated colorectal cancer patients (link to PR, link to study) and a greater than 80% increase in progression-free survival in pancreatic cancer patients with low levels of CEACAM6 expression (link to PR, link to poster).
Promoted Thomas C. Heineman, M.D., Ph.D., to Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Heineman has over two decades of experience successfully leading clinical development programs and previously served as Oncolytics' Global Head of Clinical Development and Operations. Prior to joining Oncolytics, Dr. Heineman was Senior Vice President and Head of Clinical Development at Denovo Biopharma and Vice President and Head of Clinical Development at both Genocea Biosciences and Halozyme Therapeutics. At Halozyme, Dr. Heineman was also Head of Translational Medicine and oversaw clinical trials in indications such as breast and pancreatic cancer. Dr. Heineman's experience further extends to big pharma and academia as he previously worked as Senior Director, Global Clinical Research and Development at GlaxoSmithKline and as an Associate Professor at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.
Anticipated Milestones and Catalysts
Oncolytics expects to provide updates on the timing of the following milestones:
Webcast and Conference Call
About Oncolytics Biotech Inc.
Pelareorep has demonstrated synergies with immune checkpoint inhibitors and may also be synergistic with other approved oncology treatments. Oncolytics is currently conducting and planning clinical trials evaluating pelareorep in combination with checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies in solid and hematological malignancies as it advances towards a registration study in metastatic breast cancer. For further information, please visit: www.oncolyticsbiotech.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended and forward-looking information under applicable Canadian securities laws (such forward-looking statements and forward-looking information are collectively referred to herein as "forward-looking statements"). Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include statements regarding Oncolytics' belief as to the potential and benefits of pelareorep as a cancer therapeutic; Oncolytics' expectations as to the purpose, design, outcomes and benefits of its current or pending clinical trials involving pelareorep; our plans and expectations regarding a potential registrational study in breast cancer, including the anticipated timing and impact of the announcement of our top-line data announcement for BRACELET-1, the other steps necessary to position us for the registrational study and various timing matters related thereto; our expectations regarding enrollment in our various studies and the planned timing of further announcements in respect thereto; our intention to continue to leverage partnerships with industry leaders and academia and the anticipated benefits thereof; our expectations regarding the Adlai Nortye bridging clinical study and the potential benefits therefrom; our upcoming milestones and catalysts and the anticipated timing of release of updates in respect thereof; our cash runway; our plans to advance towards a registration study in metastatic breast cancer; and other statements related to anticipated developments in Oncolytics' business and technologies. In any forward-looking statement in which Oncolytics expresses an expectation or belief as to future results, such expectations or beliefs are expressed in good faith and are believed to have a reasonable basis, but there can be no assurance that the statement or expectation or belief will be achieved. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause Oncolytics' actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the availability of funds and resources to pursue research and development projects, the efficacy of pelareorep as a cancer treatment, the success and timely completion of clinical studies and trials, Oncolytics' ability to successfully commercialize pelareorep, uncertainties related to the research and development of pharmaceuticals, uncertainties related to the regulatory process and general changes to the economic environment. In particular, we may be impacted by business interruptions resulting from COVID-19 coronavirus, including operating, manufacturing supply chain, clinical trial and project development delays and disruptions, labour shortages, travel and shipping disruption, and shutdowns (including as a result of government regulation and prevention measures). It is unknown whether and how Oncolytics may be affected if the COVID-19 pandemic persists for an extended period of time. We may incur expenses or delays relating to such events outside of our control, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition. Investors should consult Oncolytics' quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to the forward-looking statements. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable laws.
SOURCE Oncolytics Biotech® Inc.
Company Codes: NASDAQ-NMS:ONCY, Toronto:ONC, ISIN:CA6823108759