Clavis partner in companion diagnostics partnership
Oslo – Norwegian cancer specialist Clavis Pharma ASA announced yesterday that its US-based development partner Clovis Oncology for CP-4126 has signed an agreement with Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. to develop a companion diagnostic to the novel formulation of gemcitabine. The companion diagnostic is being developed to identify pancreatic cancer patients with low-level tumour expression of the human equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (hENT1) protein. Ultimately, the use of a hENT1 companion diagnostic will enable oncologists to identify responders to the treatment. The hENT1 transporter on tumour cells plays a crucial role in the uptake of cytotoxic nucleoside-based drugs and their low level or absence has been correlated with a poor clinical response to treatment with drugs such as gemcitabine and cytarabine. It is estimated that pancreatic tumours in up to two-thirds of patients have low levels of hENT1 on the tumour cell surface. CP-4126, and other drug candidates in Clavis Pharma's portfolio, have been developed using its Lipid Vector Technology (LVT), which enables the compound to enter cancer cells independently of hENT1. CP-4126 is an LVT form of gemcitabine, the current standard treatment for advanced pancreatic cancer, and which is also used in combination with other chemotherapy agents for the treatment of other cancers, including ovarian, non-small cell lung, and breast cancer.