Press Release: AVEO Acquires Clinical Stage Anti-Cancer Compound From Kirin
AVEO Acquires Clinical Stage Anti-Cancer Compound From Kirin - AVEO adds Phase II-ready VEGF receptor inhibitor to growing product portfolio - CAMBRIDGE, Mass., January 04, 2007 -- AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer medicines, today announced it has acquired from Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. an exclusive license to develop and commercialize Kirin's highly potent and selective, once-a-day, oral VEGF receptor inhibitor, KRN951, in all territories outside of Asia. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. KRN951 is currently completing a 30-patient Phase I clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors in which the maximum tolerated dose of KRN951 has been established. Results recently presented at the EORTC-NCI-AACR meeting in Prague by lead investigator Dr. Ferry Eskens of the Department of Medical Oncology, Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, found that of seven patients with refractory renal cell carcinoma enrolled to date, all have achieved either a partial response or stable disease as defined by the trial protocol, with one patient exhibiting a response lasting more than 2.5 years. Treatment with KRN951 in the trial was well-tolerated. The most common side effect seen in the trial was hypertension -- an expected mechanism-based toxicity. Blood pressure was readily controlled by standard antihypertensive agents in all but one of the patients who developed hypertension during the trial. AVEO expects to commence Phase II clinical studies for KRN951 by mid-2007. Given the strong activity signal in the Phase I trial, AVEO initially plans to develop KRN951 for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, but also intends to develop this well-tolerated VEGF receptor inhibitor as a combination treatment in multiple solid tumor types. AVEO will apply its unique Human Response Prediction(TM) Platform to identify optimal chemotherapy combinations, as well as additional patient populations likely to respond to KRN951 monotherapy and combination therapy. "The licensing of KRN951 is a significant event for AVEO, as we continue to build out a clinical-stage portfolio of targeted therapies intended to serve major unmet medical needs in cancer," said Tuan Ha-Ngoc, president and chief executive officer of AVEO. "AVEO's strategy has been to develop a balanced portfolio of products that address the major pathways implicated in cancer. Like AV-412, AVEO's EGFR/HER2 inhibitor currently in Phase I clinical trials, KRN951 is directed against a validated target demonstrated to be important in multiple cancer types but has unique properties that confer upon it the real potential to become best-in-class." "The benefit of VEGF receptor inhibition in multiple tumor types is now well-accepted," added Dr. Rick Klausner, former director of the National Cancer Institute and a member of AVEO's Scientific Advisory Board. "Notwithstanding this, however, the field also recognizes that, as has been the case with many other novel mechanisms, first generation inhibitors may be sub-optimal in important respects. There is no doubt that a significant opportunity remains for a potent, specific, and well-tolerated VEGF receptor inhibitor, particularly one with the target selectivity of this compound that can easily be combined with other anti-cancer drugs." "We are very pleased to be partnering KRN951 with AVEO," said Katsuhiko Asano, President of Pharmaceutical Division, Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. "Although Kirin had the opportunity to partner KRN951 with a number of different companies, we believe that AVEO's unique expertise in cancer biology and commitment to translational medicine offer the best chance for realizing the benefit that KRN951 may have for cancer patients." About KRN951 KRN951 is a novel, oral angiogenesis inhibitor that is highly potent and specific for VEGF receptors 1, 2 and 3. Angiogenesis inhibition has demonstrated benefit for patients with a wide range of cancer types, including renal cell carcinoma, metastatic breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and non- small cell lung cancer. Due to its specificity, KRN951 may be more readily combined with standard chemotherapy as well as other targeted therapies, potentially increasing the breadth of its clinical utility. AVEO's translational research effort, comprising its Human Response Prediction(TM) Platform, offers an opportunity to exploit KRN951's unique characteristics and will provide further insight into potential clinical settings, tumor subtypes and responsive patient populations. About AVEO AVEO is a private biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics. The Company utilizes its proprietary, genetically-defined cancer models for the identification and validation of novel cancer targets, and has begun to build an impressive portfolio of drug discovery and development programs around these high-value targets. AVEO also uses its Human Response Prediction(TM) Platform to identify genetic profiles that correspond with patient responsiveness. AVEO expects to commence Phase 2 clinical studies by mid-2007 for KRN951, its oral, second-generation VEGF receptor inhibitor and most advanced clinical program. AV-412, AVEO's EGFR/HER2 inhibitor, is currently in Phase I clinical trials. AV-299, a novel anti-HGF mAb, is currently being manufactured by Xoma under a supply agreement in anticipation of entering the clinic in early 2008. AVEO is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit the company's website at http://www.aveopharma.com. About Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd. is a research-driven company, producing a wide range of consumer food and pharmaceutical products. Kirin focuses on its areas of strength: kidney disease, cancer and hematology, immune disorder and infectious diseases. It markets erythropoietin for end-stage renal disease and G-CSF for cancer patients in Asia. The company is committed to scientific progress, pharmaceutical advancement and the creation of products that benefit worldwide people's welfare. More information about the company can be found by visiting http://www.kirin.co.jp/.