Doxorubicin’s new clothes

SIOGEN and Veeda announce partnership to develop new nanoparticle formulation of Doxorubicin for cancer treatment

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CHICAGO—The BIO 2010 International Convention in Chicagoserved as the venue for the May 4 signing of a strategic partnership agreementbetween Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based SIOGEN Biotech and Ahmedabad, India-basedVeeda Clinical Research to develop a new nanoparticle formulation ofDoxorubicin to treat cancer.
The minister of science, technology and innovation ofMalaysia, Datuk Seri Dr. Maximus Johniti Ongkili, was present to witness thesigning of the deal, saying, "This agreement is a showcase of the enormoustalent found in Malaysian companies and underlines the growing importance ofthe Malaysian biotechnology industry in the global arena."
Each company brings distinct skills to the table, withSIOGEN working in the field of silicon-based nanoparticle drug delivery andtargeting, and Veeda being a global clinical research organization. Under theterms of the agreement, SIOGEN will use its patented Siosomes drug delivery andtargeting technology to encapsulate Doxorubicin, a drug used for cancertreatment, and Veeda will undertake Phase I/II clinical trials of this formulation—bringingto bear its expertise in multicenter and multinational trials at those stages.
"We are delighted to enter into a strategic partnership withVeeda Clinical Research for the encapsulation of Doxorubicin," said Dr. ShermalPerera, managing director of SIOGEN, in announcing the deal. "This partnershipwill allow us to explore the advantages of our proprietary Siosomes technologyfor the targeted delivery of chemotherapeutic compounds. Our agreement withVeeda will capitalize on their significant clinical expertise to advance thisproduct beyond the phase I/II clinical trials."
Although doxorubicin dates back to the 1950s, it is stillused today to treat cancers of the bladder, breast, liver, lung, multiplemyeloma, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, uterine and some forms of leukemias,notes a spokesperson for SIOGEN who spoke with ddn. He adds that the Doxorubicin HCl liposome injectionwas developed to treat the AIDS-related cancer Kaposi's sarcoma; however, theside effects outweighed the benefits, particularly in the case of patients whoended up suffering from palmar plantar erythrodysesthesia, also known as PPEand hand-foot syndrome.
However, while pegylated liposome formulations ofDoxorubicin have presented with adverse side effects that limited their dosageand efficacy, SIOGEN and Veeda hope to overcome this through a nanoparticleformulation. They believe that encapsulation of Doxorubicin in Siosomes willincrease efficacy of the drug through targeted delivery to the site of diseaseand decrease adverse effects by lowering the exposure of the drug to thetissues and cells.
Looking at the partnership from the contract researchservices side of the equation, Dr. Maurice Cross, group medical director ofVeeda Clinical Research, reflects that this agreement demonstrates the changesthat are occurring in the nature of clinical research organizations, Veedaamong them.
"In the past we were merely providers of trials services;now we have to bring additional value to our client relationships," Crossnotes. "One way we can do this is by embracing innovative technologies such asthat offered by SIOGEN and offering them to our own client base as solutions totheir problems. Thus, we become brokers of scientific technology and bringsomething quite new to the table."
The SIOGEN spokesperson says that SIOGEN and Veeda wereintroduced through the Malaysian Biotechnology Corp., "as they are bothBioNexus status companies," he notes. "Veeda saw the benefits and advantages ofSIOGEN's proposal of using its propriety and patented Siosomes technology toencapsulate Doxorubicin. It was apparent from SIOGEN's previous extensive invivo and in vitro data package that Siosomes were able tosignificantly reduce toxicity of chemotherapy, and it was immediately concludedthat Doxorubicin may follow the same path."
Phase I studies of the encapsulated Doxorubicin are anticipated to beginwith cancer patients sometime in 2011, the spokesperson says. As for futurework, he says, there is definite interest on both companies' parts to worktogether on other projects, "especially in the field of the integrated servicesfor the development of problem drugs using the Siosomes technology and thefast-track drug development strategies using the know-how, expertise andfacilities of SIOGEN and Veeda."

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