ZUG, Switzerland and NEW YORK, March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- SELLAS Life Sciences Group (SELLAS), a development-stage biopharmaceutical company with its main focus on developing innovative products to treat cancers and central nervous system (CNS) diseases, today announced that the United States Adopted Names Council of the American Medical Association has approved the use of the United States Adopted Name (USAN) galinpepimut-S for SELLAS's WT1 vaccine.
The WT1 vaccine is a late clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy being developed to target hematologic cancers and solid tumors, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), mesothelioma (MPM), multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, and multiple other cancers. SELLAS recently reported positive results of a Phase 2 trial of its WT1 vaccine in MPM patients, showing that overall survival improved and progression-free survival doubled. Based on these findings, SELLAS intends to initiate a pivotal Phase 2b/3 trial of its product candidate in patients with MPM by the third quarter of 2016.
In addition, the Company expects to begin a pivotal Phase 3 Study of its WT1 vaccine in AML patients by the second quarter of 2016. A median overall survival of around 4 years was achieved in a Phase 2 trial of the WT1 vaccine in adult patients with AML. Similarly, in a previous Phase 1 AML study, the WT1 vaccine resulted in a median overall survival of more than 3 years. When combined, the results from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies demonstrated a 2-year overall survival in adult AML patients of 79%. Historical 2-year overall survival results in similar patient populations range from 30% to 45%.
"We expect 2016 to be an exceptional year for the progress of our advanced-stage WT1 program," said Miltiadis Sougioultzoglou, M.D., Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President of SELLAS. "Over the course of the next three quarters, we anticipate announcing the start of two pivotal studies, in MPM and AML, as well as multiple Phase 2 studies in additional solid tumors and hematological malignancies. We also expect to have a steady flow of clinical trial readouts from this program in 2016 and 2017, with the intention of demonstrating the potential of the WT1 vaccine in diverse indications where there is compelling clinical need."
About SELLAS's WT1 Cancer Vaccine
SELLAS' WT1 vaccine is a late clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy being developed to target hematologic cancers and solid tumors, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), mesothelioma (MPM), multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, and multiple other cancers. The WT1 antigen is a transcription factor that is not generally expressed in normal adult cells, but appears in a large number of cancers, as well as in certain cancer stem cells. WT1 has been ranked by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as the Number 1 target for cancer immunotherapy. While WT1 has not been druggable by traditional approaches, it can be targeted by the immune system. Specifically, a number of different peptide sequences from the WT1 antigen have been identified as immunogenic and capable of stimulating cytotoxic T-cells that can target and kill WT1-expressing cancer cells. Studies also have shown that WT1 does not provoke tolerization and that patients' T-cells can remain reactive to the antigen over time.
The WT1 vaccine, originally developed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and licensed to SELLAS, comprises four modified peptide chains that induce a strong innate immune response (CD4+/CD8+ T-cells) against the WT1 antigen. The WT1 vaccine is administered in combination with an adjuvant and an immune modulator to improve the immune response to the target. Based on its mechanism and the accumulating evidence of activity in mid-stage trials, the WT1 vaccine may have the potential to complement currently available therapies by destroying residual tumor cells of cancers in remission and providing ongoing immune surveillance for recurrent tumors. Overall, SELLAS' WT1 vaccine could target over 20 cancers that over-express WT1, many of which are associated with relapse rates of up to 80% or more, as seen in patients with AML and MPM.
About The USAN Council
The USAN Council serves health professionals in the United States by selecting simple, informative, and unique nonproprietary names for drugs by establishing logical nomenclature classifications based on pharmacological and/or chemical relationships to ensure that drug information is communicated accurately and unambiguously. The USAN Council aims for global standardization and unification of drug nomenclature by working closely with the International Nonproprietary Name Programme of WHO and various national nomenclature groups.
About SELLAS Life Sciences Group
SELLAS Life Sciences is a development-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on innovative products to treat cancer and central nervous system (CNS) diseases. SELLAS has two Phase 2b- and 3-ready products poised to enter trials in Europe and the US in 2016, across multiple indications in cancer and CNS diseases, as well as an earlier-stage highly innovative cancer therapeutic. The company recently received orphan drug designations by the US FDA for its WT1 cancer vaccine in Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma which will enter into pivotal clinical trials in 2016.
SELLAS's WT1 vaccine, licensed from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is a cancer immunotherapeutic agent targeting a broad spectrum of hematologic cancers and solid tumor indications. This program will advance into Phase 3 trials in 2016 in AML and MPM as well as other indications in various development phases, including ovarian cancer, glioblastoma multiforme, and others with WT1 vaccine alone or in combination with other immunooncology agents. SELLAS is also advancing a proprietary formulation of high-dose Zolpidem under the 505(b)(2) pathway to treat basal ganglia disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), which is the lead orphan indication. Zolpidem's mechanism of action and therapeutic effects in such CNS-related diseases have been demonstrated in several studies. SELLAS expects to initiate a Phase 2b study of high-dose Zolpidem for PSP in 1H 2016. A third program is focused on SELLAS's TR1 product candidate, a novel fusion protein that supplies the normal wild type p53/p21 protein to cancer cells to trigger innate cell death mechanisms (apoptosis). The Company is advancing its TR1 program toward IND-enabling studies, with the goal of commencing Phase 1 testing by early 2017.
SELLAS was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, with additional offices in New York, USA.
Ami Bavishi, Burns McClellan, +1 (212) 213-0006, [email protected]
SOURCE SELLAS Life Sciences Group