Data monitoring committee approves initiation of expansion cohort in colorectal cancer patients
Faron Pharmaceuticals Oy (AIM: FARN, First North: FARON), the clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, today announces approval from the MATINS trial’s data monitoring committee ("DMC") to initiate the study’s first expansion cohort, Part II, in patients suffering from late-stage colorectal cancer (CRC), following a successful conclusion of the dose escalation in Part I.
The phase I/II MATINS clinical trial is investigating the tolerability, safety and efficacy of Clevegen, Faron's wholly-owned novel precision cancer immunotherapy targeting Clever-1 positive tumour associated macrophages (TAM), in selected metastatic or inoperable solid tumours.
The DMC has accepted the Company’s proposal that the initial Clevegen dose for Part II of the study should be 0.3 mg/kg. This follows analysis of the data from patients in Part I of the study who received doses of 0.1 mg/kg, 0.3 mg/kg, 1.0 mg/kg, 3.0 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg. All dose levels tested showed good tolerability with no dose limiting toxicity signals. While the dose of 0.3 mg/kg has been associated with a clinical response and has produced the strongest immune response (Natural killer cell activation, CD8+ T-cell increase), the efficacy of another Part I dose level cohort (1.0 or 3.0 mg/kg) may be tested separately during Part II following completion and final analysis of Part I.
A total of 10 late-stage CRC patients are expected to be dosed in this 0.3 mg/kg cohort, including two patients who had previously received this dose in the earlier Part I of the study. Commencement of other distinct cancer cohorts will follow the CRC cohort.
Dr. Markku Jalkanen, Faron's CEO, said: “We continue to be impressed by the potential of Clevegen and are very pleased to have the DMC’s support for the commencement of Part II of the MATINS trial. At just 0.3 mg/kg the dose could provide an unusually high safety margin for the use of this potential therapy as a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other cancer therapies. The decline in expression of negative immune checkpoint receptors post Clevegen dosing warrants expansion of Clevegen testing in numerous cancer types and therefore we will now ensure a rapid expansion of Part II of the MATINS trial to continue investigating the safety and efficacy of Clevegen in various cancer cohorts.”
Primarily intended to investigate safety and tolerability, the completed Part I of the MATINS trial has already shown that Clevegen administration promoted immune activation in all of the dosed patients. This would potentially make Clevegen a new and effective macrophage immune checkpoint drug for cancer patients, who frequently suffer from supressed immune capacity toward tumour elimination. Previously announced data also indicate that Clevegen can down regulate a range of major inhibitory immune checkpoints, that current immuno-oncology therapies aim to suppress.
As previously announced, following approval of the Company's Investigational New Drug (IND) application for Clevegen by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2019, the Company is opening new MATINS trial sites in the US to facilitate its rapid expansion beyond existing and new sites in Europe. Data from Part I of the study continue to be examined to determine which different candidate cohorts will be investigated in Part II, alongside CRC. A move to Part III requires prior discussions with regulators but could take place in mid-2020.
About the MATINS study
The MATINS study is the first-in-human open label Phase I/II clinical trial with an adaptive design to investigate the safety and efficacy of Clevegen in selected metastatic or inoperable solid tumours. The selected tumours under investigation are cutaneous melanoma, hepatobiliary/hepatocellular, pancreatic, ovarian and colorectal cancer, all known to host a significant number of Clever-1 positive tumour associated macrophages (TAM). All together these five target groups consist of approximately 2 million annual cases worldwide. Cancer patients with high Clever-1 expression are identified with a simple blood myeloid cell staining with Clevegen ("liquid biopsy").
Part I of the trial deals with tolerability, safety and dose escalation to optimize dosing. As the trial is an open label study, the Company expects to report findings as the dosing progresses. The cohort expansion during Part II will focus on identification of patients who show an increased number of Clever-1 positive circulating monocytes and the safety and efficacy of the treatment. Colorectal cancer (CRC) has been selected as the first expansion cohort in Part II. During Part III, the main focus will be on assessing the efficacy of Clevegen on study subjects who show an increased number of Clever-1 positive circulating monocytes, making the treatment precisely targeted and maximizing the chances of success for efficacy. The treatment, if successful, may ultimately be used as a standalone therapy or in combination with other immunotherapies like PD-1 inhibitors.
About Faron Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Faron (AIM: FARN, First North: FARON) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for medical conditions with significant unmet needs. The Company currently has a pipeline based on the receptors involved in regulation of immune response in oncology and organ damage. Clevegen, its precision immunotherapy, is a novel anti-Clever-1 antibody with the ability to switch immune suppression to immune activation in various conditions, with potential across oncology, infectious disease and vaccine development. Currently in phase I/II clinical development as a novel macrophage checkpoint immunotherapy for patients with untreatable solid tumours, Clevegen has potential as a single-agent therapy or in combination with other standard treatments including immune checkpoint molecules. Traumakine, the Company’s pipeline candidate to prevent vascular leakage and organ failures, has completed a phase III clinical trial in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Plans for its future development are being finalised to avoid interfering steroid use together with Traumakine. Faron is based in Turku, Finland. Further information is available at www.faron.com
- Faron Pharmaceuticals
- Faron Pharmaceuticals