Presage licenses cancer drug from India's Piramal

Presage's CIVO multiple-drug injection platform--Courtesy of Presage

Seattle's Presage Biosciences has in-licensed Phase I oral cancer drug voruciclib from India's Piramal Enterprises to test its intratumoral microinjection platform, which the company says can accelerate drug development.

Microdosing typically refers to systematic doses less than 1/100th the amount of the traditional dose, which means that side effects are limited. Presage's CIVO microinjector concentrates the dose at the site of the tumor, significantly enhancing the utility of the approach, the Fierce 15 company says.

The company says individual drugs can be tested in various tumor contexts using its microinjector. Or up to 8 different drugs can be tested in a single tumor, according to the company website.

Presage plans to develop voruciclib in combination with other standard agents of cancer care. It is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Pfizer's ($PFE) Ibrance for breast cancer earlier this year became the first drug in the class to earn FDA approval.

"Using our CIVO platform, we have been able to rapidly identify and understand the biology of voruciclib combinations that hold potential for further clinical development," said Presage President Nathan Caffo in a statement. "CIVO clearly distinguished voruciclib from other CDK inhibitors in ways that were unexpected."

Xconomy reports that Presage tested CIVO on four human patients at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, site of the microinjection device's invention.

"We have shown that we can assess responses to multiple different drug microdoses directly in a patient's own tumor, but without exposing them to the levels of toxicity that almost always comes with systemic administration of cancer drugs," Caffo said in the article.

The device is only used in tumors in which medications can be injected through the skin, as is the case in skin and breast cancer.

In 2013, Celgene ($CELG) agreed to pay Presage $13 million plus milestone payments for the nonexclusive right to use CIVO to test study combination therapies of its cancer drugs on animals.

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