BOSTON: Faron Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (AIM: FARN), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on building the future of immunotherapy by harnessing the power of the immune system to tackle cancer and inflammation, announced that both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Finnish Medicines Agency (FIMEA) have cleared Faron’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application to begin the Company sponsored BEXMAB study.
BEXMAB is a novel Phase I/II study to assess safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of bexmarilimab, Faron’s wholly-owned investigational precision cancer immunotherapy, in combination with standard of care (SoC) therapy in patients with relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), or chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CML).
This marks the first time bexmarilimab will be assessed as part of a clinical study in hematologic malignancies.
“We are pleased that our IND application was cleared to proceed, and we can further explore the strong scientific rationale for combining bexmarilimab and azacitidine.” said Marie-Louise Fjällskog, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer of Faron. “Research has shown a clear survival benefit among certain blood cancer patients with low Clever-1 expression, a receptor known to be expressed on immunosuppressive macrophages in the tumor microenvironment. By adding bexmarilimab to standard of care we expect to downregulate Clever-1 expression, thereby increasing antigen presentation and allowing the immune system to better identify and kill cancer cells.”
The primary objective of the BEXMAB study is to determine the safety and tolerability of bexmarilimab in combination with SoC treatment and to identify the recommended Phase 2 dose. Secondary objectives include characterizing the pharmacokinetic profile of bexmarilimab in combination with SoC treatment (azacitidine) and to assess the immunogenicity of bexmarilimab. Based on initial safety data, there is potential for Phase II expansion and to include a first line triplet therapy of bexmarilimab, azacitidine and venetoclax in newly diagnosed AML patients who are not able to tolerate chemotherapy. Patient recruitment is expected to begin in the coming weeks.
“We know from pre-clinical research, some of which was presented recently at EHA, that certain blood cancer cells, especially with myeloid background, carry significant amounts of cell surface Clever-1,” said Dr. Markku Jalkanen, Chief Executive Officer of Faron. “This corresponds with the presence of considerable amounts of soluble Clever-1, which limits T cell activation leading to a possible systemic loss of immune capacity. Directly targeting Clever-1 could ignite the immune system, limit the replication capacity of cancer cells, and allow current chemotherapy treatments to be more effective.”
In addition to the BEXMAB study focused on hematologic malignancies, Faron is also investigating bexmarilimab in solid tumors. The ongoing Phase I/II MATINS clinical trial is assessing bexmarilimab as a potential monotherapy in late-stage, heavily pre-treated patients across multiple tumor types. Additionally, the Company expects to initiate a trial assessing the safety and tolerability of bexmarilimab in combination with an approved anti-PD-1 molecule in multiple solid tumors later this year.
Faron (AIM: FARN, First North: FARON) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel treatments for medical conditions with significant unmet needs caused by dysfunction of our immune system.
The Company currently has a pipeline based on the receptors involved in regulation of immune response in oncology, organ damage and bone marrow regeneration.
Bexmarilimab, a novel anti-Clever-1 humanized antibody, is its investigative precision immunotherapy with the potential to provide permanent immune stimulation for difficult-to-treat cancers through targeting myeloid function. Currently in Phase I/II clinical development as a potential therapy for patients with untreatable solid tumors, bexmarilimab has potential as a single-agent therapy or in combination with other standard treatments including immune checkpoint molecules.
Traumakine is an investigational intravenous (IV) interferon beta-1a therapy for the treatment of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and other ischemic or hyperinflammatory conditions. Traumakine is currently being evaluated in global trials as a potential treatment for hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and with the 59th Medical Wing of the US Air Force and the US Department of Defense for the prevention of multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) after ischemia-reperfusion injury caused by a major trauma. Faron is based in Turku, Finland.