BGB324 and BGB10C9 Show Promise in Models of Pancreatic Cancer

May 29, 2015, 16:30 ET from BerGenBio

BERGEN, Norway, May 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

BerGenBio AS ("BerGenBio" or the "Company"), an oncology biopharmaceutical company, today announces that an abstract on the latest data on BGB324, the Company's first-in-class, selective small molecule inhibitor of the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase, and BGB10C9, an Axl function-blocking monoclonal antibody in pre-clinical development at BerGenBio, has been published in conjunction with the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting in Chicago, May 29 - June 2, 2015.

The abstract entitled: "Targeting Axl for the treatment of pancreatic cancer" by Dr. Kathleen Ludwig and Prof. Rolf A. Brekken, The University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, Texas, demonstrates that selective Axl-targeting with BGB324 or BGB10C9, inhibits tumour progression and blocks metastasis in multiple murine models of pancreatic cancer.

In vitro analysis was performed in pancreatic cancer cell lines and in vivo efficacy of Axl inhibition by BGB324, BGB10C9 or low-dose warfarin treatment (an inhibitor of the Axl ligand Gas6) was evaluated in several aggressive murine models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). By targeting Axl, markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) were downregulated and PDAC tumour cell migration, invasiveness and proliferation were inhibited, while apoptosis (programmed cell death) and sensitivity to chemotherapy were increased. In the murine PDAC models, tumour progression was inhibited and spontaneous metastasis was blocked. This data supports the development of selective Axl-targeting agents to enhance pancreatic cancer treatment and suggests that BGB324, currently in two Phase Ib trials, or BGB10C9, may significantly improve outcomes in these patients.

The full abstract can be accessed through the ASCO website at:

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented:

"This data further supports the hypothesis that blocking EMT leads to a reduction in cancer progression and improves effectiveness of chemotherapy. These exciting results published at ASCO reinforce our view that selective Axl-targeting agents hold significant promise in aggressive cancers, including pancreatic cancer, where the Axl receptor is upregulated. BGB324 is currently in Phase Ib clinical trials for acute myeloid leukaemia and non-small cell lung cancer and we look forward to future studies that further explore the clinical opportunity for this drug candidate. These results suggest that BGB10C9 provides BerGenBio with an additional candidate for further development."

About BGB324 

BGB324 is a first-in-class, highly selective small molecule inhibitor of the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase. It blocks tumour plasticity via EMT, which is a key driver in acquired drug-resistance and metastasis. Multiple Phase Ib clinical trials are on-going and selected Phase II trials are planned for unique clinical opportunities.

About BGB10C9 

BGB10C9 is a murine, high affinity Axl function-blocking antibody. Human analogues have been generated and are currently in pre-clinical development.

About BerGenBio AS 

BerGenBio AS is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. The company is committed to developing innovative therapeutics that inhibit tumor plasticity via EMT, target cancer stem cells and disrupt the cellular mechanisms that drive acquired cancer drug resistance. The company is founded on proprietary platform technology, CellSelect™, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio's pipeline to enter clinical trials in AML and NSCLC, with additional compounds and drug targets at different stages of preclinical development.