BioVex Inc, a biotechnology company developing clinical stage treatments for cancer and the prevention of infectious disease, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the design of a single, pivotal, Phase III clinical trial evaluating its lead product, OncoVEX (GM-CSF), for the first-line treatment of patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck.
The study is the second the Company has agreed with the FDA under the Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) procedure and highlights the broad potential utility of BioVex's first-in-class cancer destroying virus technology. The first SPA was in melanoma under which BioVex is currently conducting a pivotal Phase III trial.
Patients with head and neck cancer often present with locally advanced, bulky disease that is too large, or too close, to vital organs to remove surgically. These patients typically undergo combination radiation and chemotherapy treatment, in some cases with additional surgery. Patients who present with tumor-containing lymph nodes are particularly difficult to treat and approximately half of these patients relapse within two years.
Philip Astley-Sparke, President & CEO, for BioVex said:
"The announcement of our second SPA governing a Phase III study demonstrates the breadth of the commercial opportunity with OncoVEX (GM-CSF). In addition to treating metastatic disease as is the intention in our ongoing Phase 3 study in melanoma, following multiple systemic responses in Phase II, OncoVEX (GM-CSF) also has considerable potential utility in treating discrete solid tumor masses across multiple indications including those that are poorly served by radiation. As with tumors like head and neck cancer where loco-regional progression is the primary cause of treatment failure, treating discrete tumor masses is a major unmet need in a wide range of settings. It is our belief that, as a result, this technology has the potential to provide a broadly active new modality to substantially improve patient outcomes in a variety of hard-to-treat tumor types. "