LIGHT is a small-molecule, broad-spectrum, cancer-targeted imaging agent that we believe has the potential to be the first of its kind for selective detection of tumors and metastases in a broad range of cancers. LIGHT is comprised of a proprietary PLE, acting as a cancer-targeted delivery and retention vehicle, covalently labeled with iodine-124, a short-lived PET imaging radioisotope. PET imaging used in conjunction with CT scanning has now become the imaging method of choice in oncology. In studies to date, LIGHT selectively illuminated malignant tumors in 52 of 54 animal models of cancer, demonstrating broad-spectrum, cancer-selective uptake and retention. Investigator-sponsored Phase 1-2 trials of LIGHT as a PET imaging agent are ongoing across 11 solid tumor indications. Initial positive imaging results have been established in patients with lung and brain cancers. These human trials, if successful, would likely provide proof-of-concept for LIGHT as a PET imaging agent with the potential to supplant the current “gold standard” agent, 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose (FDG), due to what we believe to be LIGHT’s superior cancer-specificity versus FDG and MRI, and more favorable logistics of clinical use versus FDG. As a chemically identical biomarker for HOT, we believe that LIGHT tumor uptake data could accelerate clinical development of HOT by guiding selection of indications for HOT Phase 2 trials and potentially be used in such trials to identify suitable patients and assess therapeutic efficacy. For the same reason, and in view of the quantitative nature of PET imaging, LIGHT imaging may be capable of estimating an efficacious dose of HOT in individual patients.
HOT is a small-molecule, broad-spectrum, cancer-targeted molecular radiotherapeutic that we believe has the potential to be the first therapeutic agent to use PLEs to target cancer cells. HOT is comprised of a proprietary PLE, acting as a cancer-targeted delivery and retention vehicle, covalently labeled with iodine-131, a cytotoxic (cell-killing) radioisotope that is already in common use to treat thyroid and other cancer types. The ongoing Phase 1b dose-escalation trial is aimed at determining the Maximum Tolerated Dose of HOT. We expect to initiate HOT Phase 2 efficacy trials as a monotherapy for solid tumors with significant unmet medical need as soon as a starting dose is established. We may determine such a dose based on an acceptable safety profile in the Phase 1b trial. Selection of indications for Phase 2, as well as aspects of trial design, will be guided by ongoing PET imaging trials in cancer patients with LIGHT, a chemically identical biomarker for HOT. Preclinical experiments in more than a dozen in vivo (in animals) tumor models have demonstrated selective killing of cancer cells along with a benign safety profile. In view of HOT’s selective uptake and retention in a wide range of solid tumors and in cancer stem cells, its single-agent efficacy in animal models and its non-specific mechanism of cancer-killing (radiation), we are first developing HOT as a monotherapy for solid tumors with significant unmet medical need.
GLOW2 is a small-molecule, broad-spectrum, cancer-targeted, non-radioactive optical imaging agent that we believe has the potential to be the first of its kind for intraoperative tumor margin illumination and non-invasive tumor imaging. GLOW2 is comprised of a proprietary PLE, acting as a cancer-targeted delivery and retention vehicle, covalently attached to a near-infrared (800nm) fluorophore. According to the American Cancer Society (2011), most cancer patients will have some type of surgery, and Cancer Facts and Figures indicated that approximately 1.3 million cancer patients were diagnosed with solid tumors in the U.S. alone in 2011. GLOW2 may facilitate and enable diagnostic, staging, debulking and curative cancer surgeries, intraoperatively in real time (i.e. during the actual surgical procedure) by defining tumor margins and regional lymph node involvement, resulting in more accurate tumor resectioning and improved outcome and prognosis. In this context, GLOW2 would effectively act as an adjunct therapeutic agent. In preclinical in vivo (in animals) tumor models, non-invasive optical imaging showed pronounced accumulation of GLOW2 in tumors versus normal organs and tissues in addition to successfully delineated tumor margins during tumor resection. Thus, GLOW2 may also have utility for non-invasive imaging of relatively superficial tumor types in man (e.g., melanoma, head & neck, colon, esophageal). Subject to additional funding, we expect to submit an IND for GLOW2 in the fourth quarter of 2013 and begin clinical trials shortly thereafter.
COLD is a cancer-targeted chemotherapy that in pre-clinical experiments inhibits the phosphatidylinosotol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt survival pathway, which is overexpressed in many types of cancer. As a result, COLD selectively inhibits Akt activity, induces caspase-mediated apoptosis and inhibits cell proliferation in cancer cells versus normal cells. COLD also exhibits significant in vivo efficacy in mouse xenograft tumor models, including non-small cell lung cancer and triple-negative breast cancers, producing long-lasting tumor growth suppression and significantly increased survival. We believe COLD has the potential to be best-in-class versus other Akt inhibitors in development due to a) cancer cell/cancer stem cell targeting, resulting in cancer-selective inhibition of Akt and cell proliferation or b) suitability for intravenous administration that we believe offers the prospect of greater systemic exposure and hence Akt inhibition in cancer cells, which we believe would result in superior efficacy.