Cerulean Pharma Inc. today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, has granted orphan drug designation to CRLX101 for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Cerulean is exploring two combination treatments for relapsed ovarian cancer. A Phase 2 trial of CRLX101 plus Avastin® is enrolling patients, and a Phase 1b trial of CRLX101 plus weekly paclitaxel in collaboration with the GOG Foundation is expected to start enrolling patients in the 2nd quarter of 2015.
The FDA’s orphan drug designation program provides orphan status to drugs and biologics intended to treat, diagnose or prevent rare diseases/disorders, defined as affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the U.S. This designation provides certain incentives, including federal grants, tax credits, a waiver of PDUFA filing fees and a seven-year marketing exclusivity period once the product is approved.
CRLX101 is a nanoparticle-drug conjugate (NDC) designed to concentrate in tumors and slowly release its anti-cancer payload, camptothecin, inside tumor cells. CRLX101 inhibits topoisomerase 1 (topo 1), which is involved in cellular replication, and also inhibits hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α), which research suggests is a master regulator of cancer cell survival mechanisms. CRLX101 has shown activity in four different tumor types, both as monotherapy and in combination with other cancer treatments. CRLX101 is currently in Phase 2 clinical development and has been dosed in more than 250 patients. CRLX101 has Fast Track designation in combination with Avastin® in metastatic renal cell carcinoma and Orphan Drug designation in ovarian cancer.
CRLX301 is a dynamically tumor-targeted NDC designed to concentrate in tumors and slowly release its anti-cancer payload, docetaxel, inside tumor cells. In preclinical studies, CRLX301 delivers up to 10 times more docetaxel into tumors, compared to an equivalent milligram dose of commercially available docetaxel and was superior to docetaxel in seven of seven animal models, with a statistically significant survival benefit seen in five of those seven models. In addition, preclinical data show that CRLX301 had lower toxicity than has been reported with docetaxel in similar preclinical studies. CRLX301 is currently in Phase 1 clinical development.
About Cerulean Pharma
The Cerulean team is committed to improving treatment for people living with cancer. We apply our Dynamic Tumor Targeting Platform to create a portfolio of NDCs designed to selectively attack tumor cells, reduce toxicity by sparing the body’s normal cells, and enable therapeutic combinations. Our first platform-generated candidate, CRLX101, is in multiple clinical trials in combination with other cancer treatments, all of which aim to unlock the power of combination therapy. Our second platform-generated candidate, CRLX301, is in a Phase 1/2a clinical trial. For more information, please visit www.ceruleanrx.com.
About Cerulean’s Dynamic Tumor Targeting™ Platform
Cerulean’s Dynamic Tumor Targeting Platform creates NDCs that are designed to provide safer and more effective cancer treatments. We believe our NDCs concentrate their anti-cancer payloads inside tumors while sparing normal tissue because they are small enough to pass through the “leaky” vasculature present in tumors but are too large to pass through the wall of healthy blood vessels. Once inside tumors, our NDCs enter tumor cells where they slowly release anti-cancer payloads from within the tumor cells.