LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J., May 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Celsion Corporation (NASDAQ: CLSN), an oncology drug development company, today provided an update on its ongoing OVATION study, a Phase Ib dose escalating clinical trial combining GEN-1, the Company's DNA-based immunotherapy, with the standard of care for the treatment of newly-diagnosed patients with advanced ovarian cancer who will undergo neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by interval debulking surgery. GEN-1 is an IL-12 DNA plasmid vector formulated as a nanoparticle in a non-viral delivery system to cause the sustained local production and secretion of the Interleukin-12 (IL-12) protein loco-regionally to the tumor site.
The Company announced that an abstract detailing the trial design of the OVATION Study has been accepted for presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting, which will take place from June 3-7 in Chicago. The abstract, entitled "Phase 1 study of the safety and biological activity of intraperitoneal IL-12 plasmid formulated with PEG-PEI-cholesterol lipopolymer administered in combination with standard neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) in patients with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer," will be presented in a poster session on Monday, June 6th from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
The Company also announced today that it has completed enrollment of the second cohort of the OVATION Study and expects to report clinical data from that cohort mid-year. Celsion has previously reported highly encouraging data from the first cohort of the OVATION Study. In the first three patients dosed, GEN-1 plus standard chemotherapy produced excellent results, with no dose limiting toxicities and highly promising efficacy signals leading to successful surgical outcomes as summarized below:
- Of the three patients treated in the first cohort, two patients demonstrated stable disease (SD) and one patient demonstrated a complete response (CR), as measured by RECIST criteria.
- All patients had successful resections of their tumors, with two patients having an R0 resection, which indicates a microscopically margin-negative resection in which no gross or microscopic tumor remains in the tumor bed, and one patient with Stage IV ovarian cancer having an optimal R1 resection.
- One patient demonstrated a pathological complete response (pCR). pCRs are typically seen in less than 7% of patients receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by surgical resection, and have been associated with a median overall survival (OS) of 72 months, which is more than three years longer than those who do not experience a pCR.
- All patients experienced a dramatic > 96% drop in their CA-125 protein levels as of their most recent study visit. CA-125 is used to monitor certain cancers during and after treatment. CA-125 is present in greater concentrations in ovarian cancer cells than in other cells. A 50% reduction in CA-125 levels is considered meaningful. All patients' CA-125 levels were below the standard cutoff level of 35 U/mL.
Celsion also expects to report translational data from the first two cohorts of the OVATION Study early in the third quarter of 2016. The translational data will provide further insight into GEN-1's mechanism of action through the evaluation of dose-related changes in the tumor and peritoneal immune cell population, as well as through the peritoneal cytokine levels. Moreover, immune cell density, a common indicator of survival in ovarian cancer patients, will be explored to further demonstrate the therapy's efficacy in these patients.
"We continue to successfully execute our OVATION Study in newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients, and are pleased to report that our second cohort is now fully enrolled," said Michael H. Tardugno, Celsion's chairman, president and CEO. "The translational and clinical data seen to date underscore the potential efficacy and safety profile of GEN-1, and we look forward to learning more about the utility of our gene-based immunotherapy approach as our data set matures."
OVATION Study Design
The Phase Ib trial will evaluate weekly intraperitoneal dosing of GEN-1 in combination with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, the standard of care for patients newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Concurrently with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, enrolled patients will receive escalating weekly doses of GEN-1, from levels beginning at 36mg/m², to 47mg/m², 61mg/m², 79mg/m², and up to 103mg/m² weekly for 8 treatments in total, with interval debulking surgery to follow. The regimen will primarily be evaluated for its safety and tolerability.
About GEN-1 Immunotherapy
GEN-1, designed using Celsion's proprietary TheraPlas™ platform technology, is an IL-12 DNA plasmid vector encased in a nanoparticle delivery system, which enables cell transfection followed by persistent, local secretion of the IL-12 protein. IL-12 is one of the most active cytokines for the induction of potent anti-cancer immunity acting through the induction of T-lymphocyte and natural killer (NK) cell proliferation. The Company has previously reported positive safety and encouraging Phase I results with GEN-1 given as monotherapy in patients with peritoneally metastasized ovarian cancer, and recently completed a Phase Ib trial of GEN-1 in combination with PEGylated doxorubicin in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
About Celsion Corporation
Celsion is a fully-integrated oncology company focused on developing a portfolio of innovative cancer treatments, including directed chemotherapies, immunotherapies and RNA- or DNA-based therapies. The Company's lead program is ThermoDox®, a proprietary heat-activated liposomal encapsulation of doxorubicin, currently in Phase III development for the treatment of primary liver cancer and in Phase II development for the treatment of recurrent chest wall breast cancer. The pipeline also includes GEN-1, a DNA-based immunotherapy for the localized treatment of ovarian and brain cancers. Celsion has two platform technologies for the development of novel nucleic acid-based immunotherapies and other anti-cancer DNA or RNA therapies, including TheraPlas™ and TheraSilence™. For more information on Celsion, visit our website: http://www.celsion.com (CLSN-G1 CLSN-OV).
Celsion wishes to inform readers that forward-looking statements in this release are made pursuant to the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties including, without limitation, unforeseen changes in the course of research and development activities and in clinical trials; the uncertainties of and difficulties in analyzing interim clinical data, particularly in small subgroups that are not statistically significant; FDA and regulatory uncertainties and risks; the significant expense, time, and risk of failure of conducting clinical trials; the need for Celsion to evaluate its future development plans; possible acquisitions or licenses of other technologies, assets or businesses; possible actions by customers, suppliers, competitors, regulatory authorities; and other risks detailed from time to time in the Celsion's periodic reports and prospectuses filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Celsion assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events, new information or otherwise.
Celsion Investor Contact
Jeffrey W. Church
Sr. Vice President and CFO
Celsion Media Contacts
Berry & Company
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SOURCE Celsion Corporation