Synta, MMRC announce clinical trial for Hsp90 inhibitor

Trial to evaluate ganetespib as a treatment for multiple myeloma patients

Kelsey Kaustinen
NORWALK, Conn.—Synta Pharmaceuticals and the MultipleMyeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) have announced the beginning of a clinicaltrial to study ganetespib, a second-generation Hsp90 inhibitor currently underdevelopment by Synta. The trial will examine ganetespib as both a single agentand in combination with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (VELCADE) for thetreatment of relapsed multiple myeloma.
 
 
"Our continued investment in drug development, whetherthrough our annual Biotech Investment Awards or through our new Clinical Fundprojects with biopharmas like Synta, signify the MMRF's continued commitment toshare in the risk of drug development to ensure promising treatments arebrought to patients as quickly as possible," Kathy Giusti, founder and CEO ofthe Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and MMRC.
 
The trial will be funded by the MMRF, who will contribute upto $1 million for the undertaking. The funding is made possible by thedonor-supported MMRF Clinical Fund, which allows the MMRF to invest in multiplemyeloma compounds that have hit roadblocks due to financial constraints.
 
 
The trial will be conducted through the MMRC, a consortiumof 16 academic institutions and community centers who are working together toaccelerate the development of new treatments for multiple myeloma via thepromotion and support of collaborative research partnerships between industryand academia. According to a recent study, the MMRC has served to enrollpatients 10 percent faster when compared to the baseline enrollment timeline,with 67 percent of trials meeting pre-study enrollment commitments 4.5 months,or 34 percent, faster when compared to the baseline enrollment timeline.
 
 
"Working with the MMRF and the MMRC provides both theresources and the access to top-tier investigators and clinical trial sitesthat can be of tremendous help in accelerating the potential of noveltherapies, such as ganetespib, to benefit patients with multiple myeloma," SafiBahcall, Ph.D., president and CEO of Synta, said in a press release. "We areexcited to begin this partnership."
 
 
"Ganetespib has already demonstrated clear signals of single-agent activity in several tumor types and a favorable safety profile. Webelieve that patients with multiple myeloma may also benefit from treatmentwith an Hsp90 inhibitor such as ganetespib," Sagar Lonial, M.D., Winship CancerInstitute of Emory University and principal investigator on the Phase I trial,said in a press release.
 
 
"An earlier Phase Ib clinical trial of the first generation Hsp90inhibitors 17AAG and 17DMAG in combination with bortezomib in multiple myelomademonstrated signs of activity in patients who had experienced a median of fourprior therapies," Lonial continued. "Based on these results, we believe thatganetespib, a second-generation, small-molecule inhibitor of Hsp90, may providebenefit to patients with multiple myeloma."
 
Ganetespib is a potent, synthetic, small-molecule inhibitorof heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), a molecular chaperone necessary for theproper folding and activation of a multitude of cancer-promoting proteins.Hsp90 has been identified as a key contributor to the growth and survival ofcancer cells, and in preclinical experiments, ganetespib has shown activity inseveral tumor models as both a single agent and when combined with certainwidely used cancer agents. The compound is being examined in over 20 clinicaltrials, and to date has shown to be well tolerated.
 
 
 
SOURCE: Synta Pharmaceuticals press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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