PsiOxus racks up promising PhII results for cancer-wasting drug

Oxford-based PsiOxus Therapeutics came through with a slate of mostly upbeat results from its mid-stage study of its lead drug MT-102, an experimental therapy designed to combat potentially lethal weight loss among cancer patients.

The results are preliminary, as there are no data in the release. But the biotech reports that patients suffering from lung and colorectal cancer in the trial--which recruited a total of 87 subjects with cancer cachexia, or wasting syndrome--demonstrated a statistically significant weight gain after 16 weeks of therapy when compared to the placebo arm. A 10-mg group did "statistically better" than the placebo arm.

"Medical treatments of muscle wasting have historically focused on the diseases that predispose patients to cachexia," said CEO John Beadle in a statement. "Only recently has severe weight loss been recognized as a treatable syndrome in its own right."

PsiOxus has gained some major financial support for its work from some marquee European financiers. Imperial Innovations, SROne, Lundbeckfond Ventures and Invesco Perpetual have all contributed to last year's $34 million round, with an add from the Wellcome Trust. Much of the company's attention is focused on its No. 2 program in the pipeline, the cancer vaccine ColoAd1. The biotech mounted a study of the therapeutic vaccine in 126 patients, looking for results that could indicate that it can do better than some of the late-stage programs in the clinic, such as MAGE-A3.

PsiOxus said it would release the data at an upcoming scientific conference.

- here's the release