AstraZeneca presents first DEP® candidate as Bcl2/xL inhibitor

28 September 2017

Melbourne, Australia; Starpharma (ASX: SPL, OTCQX: SPHRY) advises that AstraZeneca has this week presented its first DEP® candidate utilising Starpharma’s DEP® delivery platform,  AZD0466, at the 3rd AstraZeneca-MedImmune-CRUK Cambridge Centre Symposium 2017 in Cambridge, UK.


AZD0466 is a highly optimised nanomedicine formulation[1] of a novel dual Bcl2/xL inhibitor which utilises Starpharma’s DEP® delivery technology. AstraZeneca describes AZD0466 as a best-in-class drug with a broad combination opportunity in solid and haematological tumours[2].  

The Bcl family of proteins are important in the regulation of cell death, known as apoptosis. Bcl2 is an anti-apoptotic protein which allows cancer cells to live indefinitely and remain resistant to many treatments. Bcl2 is a clinically validated oncology target with venetoclax (VenclextaTM - AbbVie/Genentech) being approved by the US FDA in 2016. Peak global sales of venetoclax are projected to be greater than US$7 billion[3].  However despite its significant market potential, it is considered that there are gaps in the therapeutic potential of these first generation Bcl2 inhibitors[4]. Venetoclax may not maximise the inhibition of Bcl2 proteins, with surviving cancer cells potentially able to exploit the combined Bcl2/xL pathway as a parallel survival mechanism[5].


Starpharma’s CEO, Dr Jackie Fairley, said: “We’re very excited to be able to confirm the first oncology target for our DEP® licence with AstraZeneca. AZD0466 has the potential to be a best-in-class drug with a broad combination opportunity in solid and haematological tumours, due to its broader Bcl2/xL profile. There are currently no marketed drugs which target this dual Bcl2/xL pathway and we are pleased that our DEP® platform can play a part in filling this gap.”


Dr Fairley added: “Having recently announced the successful results of our DEP® docetaxel phase 1 clinical trial and commencement of phase 2, this news further builds on the momentum of our DEP® platform. Today’s announcement further highlights the broad applicability and depth of enhancement offered by our DEP® platform. Furthermore, the reproducible benefits across multiple internal and external drug candidates provide additional validation of our DEP® platform as we move multiple candidates into the clinic. We look forward to AstraZeneca progressing AZD0466 into the clinic to improve the lives of cancer patients around the world.”    


Under the AstraZeneca multiproduct DEP® licence, Starpharma is eligible to receive potential development, launch and sales milestones of US$124 million for AZD0466, and US$93.3 million for each subsequent qualifying product under the multiproduct licence. Starpharma will also receive tiered royalties on net sales on AZD0466 and any other resultant DEP® AstraZeneca products, and AstraZeneca funds development costs of AZD0466 and other DEP® AstraZeneca products.


Download ASX Announcement: AstraZeneca presents first DEP® candidate as Bcl2-xL inhibitor ( pdf file, 138kb)


[2] 3rd AstraZeneca-MedImmune-CRUK Cambridge Centre Symposium 2017 presentation

[4] 3rd AstraZeneca-MedImmune-CRUK Cambridge Centre Symposium 2017 presentation



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