HOUSTON, Aug. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical stage company developing novel targeted membrane-disrupting peptides to treat cancer, today announced the appointment of Congjian Xu, MD, PhD, as a Scientific Advisor. Professor Xu is a prominent expert and distinguished researcher in women's reproductive cancer and reproductive health, and is President of the Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Professor Xu will provide guidance on the clinical development of Esperance's anticancer product candidates, particularly in China, including the company's lead product EP-100, a synthetic lytic peptide specific for targeting LHRH receptors on cancer cells. It is in clinical development for the treatment of ovarian and other cancers.
"We are honored to have Professor Xu, a leading Chinese expert in women's reproductive cancers and women's health, join our distinguished group of Scientific Advisors," noted Hector Alila, PhD, CEO of Esperance Pharmaceuticals. "Our lead compound EP-100 has demonstrated promising activity in preclinical and clinical studies of ovarian and breast cancer, and our ongoing strategic alliance with MD Anderson Cancer Center has enabled us to significantly advance the development program. We are confident that Professor Xu's clinical expertise and his experience in China will help us further strengthen and accelerate the clinical program for EP-100."
Currently, Professor Xu is also the Director, Shanghai Key Lab of Female Diseases in Reproductive Endocrinology at Fudan University and Dean, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Fudan University School of Medicine. He is also a Professor at Fudan University Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital. Professor Xu is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Reproductive and Developmental Medicine and serves on the editorial boards of five other Chinese and international medical journals. He is the recipient of numerous scientific research grants, has authored more than 80 peer-reviewed scientific studies and is Editor of five books on women's reproductive health. Professor Xu is also the inventor on eight issued patents. He is the recipient of multiple honors and awards, including the Shanghai Excellent Invention Award Gold Medal.
"I welcome the opportunity to provide guidance to Esperance as it advances EP-100, a novel approach to the treatment of ovarian, breast and other cancers that has demonstrated encouraging activity in clinical and preclinical studies. Importantly, recent research also suggests that EP-100 may be highly synergistic with other novel cancer treatments," noted Professor Xu. "These cancers affect millions of Chinese women each year, and I look forward to exploring how the development program for EP-100 might be expanded to China as conditions permit."
Professor Xu received an undergraduate degree in medicine from XuZhou Medical College, Jiangsu, a master's in medicine degree from Shanxi Medical University and a PhD degree from Fudan University School of Medicine in Shanghai.
EP-100 is the first in a novel class of targeted anticancer therapeutics. It is a membrane-disrupting peptide designed to seek and destroy cancer cells that overexpress luteinizing hormone releasing hormone (LHRH) receptors on their surfaces. LHRH receptors are overexpressed in a wide range of cancers including ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic and endometrial cancer. In a Phase II clinical trial in ovarian cancer patients who had developed resistance to paclitaxel (Taxol®), EP-100 re-sensitized the cancer to the anti-tumor effects of paclitaxel, which is a front-line agent for the treatment of ovarian cancer. Recent preclinical studies showed that EP-100 was synergistic in broadly enhancing the cytotoxicity of a leading PARP inhibitor, even in ovarian cancer cell lines that are multi-drug resistant. Based on these promising data, Esperance entered a strategic alliance with MD Anderson Cancer Center to accelerate clinical development of EP-100 in ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
The company's patented technology was discovered by scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (PBRC) and Louisiana State University. EP-100 was developed as part of a sponsored research agreement funded by Esperance under the leadership of Dr. Hector Alila and Pennington's Dr. Carola Leuschner, who is now Vice President of Research and Development at Esperance.
About Esperance Pharmaceuticals
Esperance Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical stage company developing a new class of targeted anticancer drugs using its Cationic Lytic Peptide (CLYPTM) platform technology. These drug candidates include targeted membrane-disrupting peptides and antibody drug conjugates that selectively seek and destroy cancer cells, including cells known to be resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs, without harming normal cells. Lead candidate EP-100 has successfully completed a Phase II trial in ovarian cancer patients resistant to paclitaxel and is in late preclinical development for breast cancer. Esperance has relocated to Houston, Texas and is conducting its R&D programs as part of a strategic alliance with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. For more information, visit esperancepharma.com.
Dr. Hector Alila
BLL Partners LLC
SOURCE Esperance Pharmaceuticals, Inc.