Essential Biotechnology’s current pipeline is focused on the following initial markets:
Ovarian cancer / Chemoresistant Disease:
Nearly all women diagnosed with ovarian cancer succumb to recurrent, resistant disease. Therapies targeting VEGF and PARP can help shrink tumors but do not help patients live any longer than those on chemotherapy alone. There is currently no new way to improve survival of these patients beyond surgery and conventional toxic chemotherapy. $4.7 billion was spent on ovarian cancer care in the United States in 2014 (http://www.cancer.gov). CRR9 overexpression is associated with resistance to platinum and other cytotoxic chemotherapies. Virtually all advanced stage lung cancers that do not exhibit EGFR or EML4-ALK translocations will be treated with platinum therapy, and virtually all patients will develop resistant disease. Similar platinum therapies are also used in ovarian and pancreatic cancers, where most patients will also develop resistance to these agents. This represents a patient segment in dire need of new therapeutic options. In addition, many potential pharmaceutical partners are continually frustrated by the limited efficacy and short-duration of use of their cytotoxic chemotherapies. Anti-CRR9 antibody therapy potentiates and increases sensitivity to platinum agents in vitro and in vivo and represents a means by which oncology drug makers can extend the usefulness of their products while improving patient outcomes.
Lung cancer represents the single greatest cause of cancer deaths in the United States (over 159,000 in 2013)—and growing disease incidence around the world. This significant disease burden will result in an estimated $6.0 billion in annual spending on therapies by the year 2020. Tarceva is the most used targeted agent in the lung cancer market (anti-EGFR), with annual projected sales in excess of $1.5 billion in 2017. However, only ~10% of U.S. lung cancer cases are driven by EGFR mutation. Anti-CRR9 therapy, by contrast, may be useful in most lung cancer cases, especially in the greater than 35% of lung cancer cases that are believed to be driven by KRas mutations, and in an even greater percentage of cases where frank overexpression of CRR9 is evident. We have strong preclinical data in both lung and pancreatic cancers.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) are one of the fastest-growing cancer disease subtypes in the United States in terms of incidence and prevalence. PDAC is predicted to be the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the US by 2017 (second only to lung cancer). Current therapeutic options are highly limited and have only achieved a dismal 6% 5-year survival rate. Approximately 48,000 new cases are predicted in the United States in 2015 with ~40,000 predicted deaths. There is a dramatic lack of effective therapies in this disease site. Preliminary work suggests that the vast majority of pancreatic cancers overexpress CRR9 and may be good candidates for treatment with anti-CRR9 antibodies.