Athenex said today that it inked a clinical collaboration deal to conduct a phase Ib study for its oral form of paclitaxel, Oraxol, with Eli Lilly‘s (NYSE:LLY) vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor 2 antagonist, Cyramza.
Patients with advanced gastric and esophageal cancer will be enrolled in 2017 at sites in the U.S. and Asia, where Athenex will sponsor the trial and Lilly will supply Cyramza. Cyramza is approved in the U.S. for use as a monotherapy or in combination with paclitaxel as treatment for advanced or metastatic stomach cancers.
An open-label phase II study studying the effects of oraxol in advanced gastric cancer patients reported median overall survival of 10.7 months.
“A major component of cancer treatment consists of intravenous chemotherapy. Many oncologists are currently limited by the amount of standard intravenous chemotherapy a patient can tolerate. Oraxol is the first drug candidate from an innovative technology platform which enables the oral administration of a chemotherapy drug usually administered by the intravenous route (i.e., paclitaxel),” chief medical officer Dr. Rudolf Kwan said in prepared remarks. “The effect of the compound is limited to the intestinal cells, as it is not significantly absorbed in humans. Oral dosing of paclitaxel potentially provides longer drug exposure over a target drug concentration and may offer the opportunity for chronic chemotherapy, which will be evaluated for increased efficacy.”
A phase III metastatic breast cancer trial is also evaluating the effects of Oraxol, but in a head-to-head comparison against IV paclitaxel.