City of Hope, Novonco Therapeutics Inc. announce first-in-human clinical trial for COH29

June 23, 2016

Letisia Marquez
City of Hope
[email protected]

Andrew Freedman
Andrew Freedman Public Relations
[email protected]

New chemotherapy agent will be studied in patients with solid tumors

DUARTE, Calif. — City of Hope and Novonco Therapeutics Inc. today announced the initiation of a phase 1, first-in-human clinical trial for a promising anti-cancer drug – COH29 – that will be used to treat patients with solid tumors, including breast, colon, ovarian, pancreatic, stomach and lung cancers. Patients whose disease is treatment-resistant to standard therapies, or for which no other treatment options exist, are eligible for the trial.

City of Hope has conducted preclinical studies with the chemotherapy drug, which inhibits activity of an enzyme called ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), thus preventing cancer cells from copying themselves and dividing. By designing the drug to target RNR, researchers also hope that COH29 will produce fewer side effects than other chemotherapy drugs currently available, and that cancer cells are less likely to develop a resistance to the agent.

“A top priority for City of Hope is moving innovative medicines, created on our campus, to the clinical trials phase with the goal of having cancer patients benefit from promising novel therapies,” said Joseph Chao, M.D., assistant clinical professor of City of Hope’s  Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and the trial’s principal investigator. “COH29 is a good example of this commitment to ‘bench-to-bedside’ drug development.”

“Novonco is very pleased to lead its cancer therapeutic efforts with COH29,” said Jack Kavanaugh, M.D., chairman of Novonco, which is supporting the clinical trial. “Novonco has three different platform technologies, each of which target several different cancer types. Each of our platforms has the common strategy of providing therapeutic approaches to cancers that currently have very poor survival rates with minimalized side effects and maximal efficacy.

“Preclinical results have been very encouraging,” he added.  “We believe that COH29 developed at City of Hope is an excellent choice for a lead compound.”

In preclinical studies, COH29 has demonstrated efficacy against leukemia and ovarian cancer cells. These early findings are encouraging for finding treatments for these diseases that are difficult to treat and for which new approaches are desperately needed. It has also shown promise against breast cancer cells. One long-term goal is to develop COH29 into a new therapy for ovarian cancer, which is the most lethal – and second most common – gynecologic cancer in the United States.

COH29 was the first small molecule produced in City of Hope’s Chemical GMP (good manufacturing practice) Synthesis Facility, a state-of-the-art manufacturing resource for small and large molecule therapeutics for clinical trials. Researchers first searched the National Cancer Institute’s library of anti-cancer agents to find a promising anti-cancer compound, and then used data obtained with the help of City of Hope’s Core Services’ laboratory scientists to make structural adjustments to improve the molecule and test its effectiveness in preclinical studies.

Patients interested in finding out more about the new clinical trial can call 626 218-1133 or visit this site.

About Novonco
The mission of Novonco Therapeutics Inc. is to develop platform small molecule technologies for the treatment of cancers most refractive to treatment with a goal of achieving efficacy in treatment while minimizing side effects. With the launch of COH29, and its clinical trials, Novonco becomes a clinical stage company. They have selected and are screening for the most effective therapeutics being developed at leading research institutions such as City of Hope and University of California Irvine.  

About City of Hope
City of Hope is an independent research and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. Designated as one of only 45 comprehensive cancer centers, the highest recognition bestowed by the National Cancer Institute, City of Hope is also a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, with research and treatment protocols that advance care throughout the world. City of Hope is located in Duarte, California, just northeast of Los Angeles, with community clinics throughout southern California. It is ranked as one of "America's Best Hospitals" in cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1913, City of Hope is a pioneer in the fields of bone marrow transplantation, diabetes and numerous breakthrough cancer drugs based on technology developed at the institution.

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