Midatech Pharma (AIM: MTPH, Nasdaq: MTP), the international specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercialising products in oncology, announces that it has selected its preferred candidate for testing in glioblastoma (GBM) brain cancer. The compound is under final evaluation with some key pre-clinical studies to confirm efficacy before being progressed into IND enabling trials and thereafter full development studies. Additional candidates are also being evaluated in parallel.
The GBM candidate is based on Midatech’s gold nanoparticle technology which aims to improve the delivery of currently marketed drugs to be specifically targeted at the tumour cells while sparing healthy tissue, thereby reducing side effects and enhancing efficacy. Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 240,000 cases of brain and nervous system tumours per year, of which GBM is the most common and the lowest survival rate, typically only 12 to 15 months.
Midatech has a portfolio of brain cancer product candidates that are being developed with the goal of treating brain tumours via either systemic administration and crossing the blood brain barrier (BBB); and/or via intra-tumoural administration using a convection enhanced delivery technique that bypasses the BBB and delivers therapies directly into the tumour.
Midatech is developing MTX110, a potential treatment for DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma), an ultra-rare childhood brain cancer for which there is currently no satisfactory treatment. Patients’ average survival time is currently just 7-9 months. Clinical trials with MTX110 are expected to start in H2 2017 and, following requests from DIPG physicians, the product has also been made available on a compassionate use basis with several patients under treatment. Brainstem tumours comprise approximately 10-15% of all paediatric brain tumours, of which the most common subtype (80%) is DIPG estimated to affect 2.5 per 1,000,000 patients in the US and EU annually.
Commenting on this progress, Jim Phillips, CEO of Midatech Pharma, remarked: “Midatech is developing a range of product candidates for patients using potentially improved forms of cancer therapies. Midatech’s objective is to maximise tumour shrinkage effects while minimising effects on normal cells through its ‘right place, right time’ technology. The selection of a preferred candidate to treat glioblastoma is an important milestone as we look to advance our products into the clinic for challenging cancers for which patients currently have a very poor prognosis.”