FDA approves Avacta’s new cancer therapy drug

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Avacta’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application for AVA6000, which will allow the group to expand its Phase I clinical trial, ALS-6000-101, into clinical trial sites in the United States. 

What is AVA6000? 

AVA6000 is a novel form of doxorubicin that has been modified with Avacta’s pre|CISION platform to improve its safety and therapeutic index. Anthracyclines such as doxorubicin, a generic chemotherapy for which the market is expected to grow to $1.38 billion by 20241, are widely used as part of standard of care in several tumour types, but their use is limited by cumulative toxicity.  

AVA6000 has been designed to limit cell penetration of the drug, and therefore its cell killing effect, until it is specifically activated by fibroblast activation protein a (FAP) which is in high concentration in many solid tumours compared with healthy tissues. The resulting reduced exposure of healthy tissues to active doxorubicin has the potential to significantly increase its therapeutic index by reducing the incidence of adverse effects, including cardiotoxicity and myelosuppression. 

FDA conclusions 

The FDA has completed its 30-day review of Avacta’s IND application, which was submitted ahead of schedule in October 2021, and has concluded that the group may proceed with its proposed clinical investigation. This allows Avacta to enroll eligible patients into US clinical trial sites for the company’s Phase I multi-centre study, ALS-6000-101.  

Looking forward 

As previously announced in August 2021, the company has begun recruiting and dosing patients for this study at several clinical trial sites in the UK, and continues to expect the dose escalation phase for this trial to complete by Q2 2022 followed by completion of the dose expansion phase around mid-2023. Enrollment in US clinical trial sites is expected to begin in early 2022. 

Official comments 

Dr. Alastair Smith, Chief Executive of Avacta Group, said: “We are delighted to have received approval from the FDA to add clinical trial sites in the United States as part of the Phase I study for AVA6000. This is a major milestone in our development of pre|CISION chemotherapies and is testament to the performance of our clinical development team and the quality of the pre-clinical data for AVA6000. 

Provided that the study shows that the pre|CISION technology is effective in reducing systemic toxicity of Doxorubicin, then that would open up an extensive and proprietary pipeline for Avacta of next-generation pre|CISION chemotherapies with significant clinical and commercial advantages in a chemotherapy market that is expected to exceed $74 billion by 20272. 

We now look forward to opening up clinical trial sites in the United States and additional clinical trial sites in the UK.” 

Neil Bell, Chief Development Officer of Avacta Life Sciences, commented: “We are excited to bring the first FAP-activated chemotherapeutic to the clinic in the US, which has the potential to meaningfully impact patients with difficult-to-treat tumours. The clearance of the AVA6000 IND by the FDA enables the opening of key US sites to support the ALS-6000-101 clinical trial which is currently recruiting patients across clinical sites in the UK.” 

References 

  1. Press Release: Doxorubicin Market Size is Expected to Reach $1.38 Billion by 2024: Grand View Research, Inc. (23 November 2016) 
  2. Press Release: Cancer Chemotherapy Market Value Anticipated To Reach US$ 74.3 Billion By 2027: Acumen Research and Consulting (8 February 2021) 

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