Cancer treatment has made tremendous strides in recent years, as new drugs and new uses of existing drugs have greatly improved rates of cure and remission for patients across all age groups, with decreased side effects. Avalon is seeking to play a part in this exciting growth through investing in the research and development of the discovery of new medicines for cancer patients.
Cancer has been the second leading cause of death in developed countries in the past decades. Currently dominant anti-cancer drugs are cytotoxic agents, though data shows that most are effective in only 15% to 40% of cancer patients and are accompanied by adverse side effects.
One promising cancer therapy that is under clinical development is the use of human arginase to deplete arginine in circulating blood. It is potentially effective as cancer cells are high consumers of arginine compared to normal, non-cancerous cells. Yet current approaches carry a major downside – they require either repeated administration or large doses.
Working with the team at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Athenex, we have developed a proprietary biotherapeutic with a two-pronged approach to enhance potency while reducing immunogenicity. It seeks to treat arginine-dependent cancers by depleting plasma arginine, an essential amino acid for cell growth, as a single agent or in combination with other cancer therapies.
Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia is the side effect of certain cancer treatment. The condition can be cured by administering IL-11 treatment on patients. Yet most IL-11 treatment currently available in the market have short circulation half-life and often bring other side effects, such as allergic reaction and cardiovascular complications derived from fluid retention. To address these problems, Nansha Biologics is developing PEGylated IL-11, which can help cure Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia while reducing the side effects of fluid retention. It can also be applied in the treatment for acute radiation sickness as well as severe burn.
We are currently seeking partnership for the PEG-IL11’s IND application and clinical phase I trial.