Clinical Study Advancements for New Cancer Drug Candidates Boosting Optimism in Oncology Therapy Industry

Palm Beach, FL – (November 8, 2018) – The biotech space is thriving in the midst of rising competition as it relates to the development of innovative cancer treatments. Leaders in the industry are spending millions on research and development to create more effective treatments for patients and are encouraged by positive results from clinical trials and other data. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, annual global spending on cancer treatment development is expected to surpass $150 billion by 2020. Shorter product lifecycles, advancing treatment technology and rising spending are expected to continue fueling growth in the oncology space of the biotech world.  Active biotech and pharma companies in the markets this week include Moleculin Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBRX), Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY), CytomX Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CTMX), Horizon Pharma Public Limited Company (NASDAQ: HZNP), AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV).


Moleculin Biotech, Inc., (NASDAQ:MBRX) BREAKING NEWS:  Moleculin Biotech, a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development of oncology drug candidates, all of which are based on license agreements with The University of Texas System on behalf of the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, today announced that a new mechanism of action may have been uncovered expanding the potential use of its inhibitor of glycolysis, WP1122.


A study recently published in the American Cancer Journal of Cancer Research (Am J Cancer Res 2018;8(9):1837-1846) involving researchers at MD Anderson and the Peking University Cancer Hospital & Institute has found that 2-deoxyglucose (2-DG) has the potential to decrease resistance to immune checkpoint blockade therapy in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in a process known as “glycosylation.”


“This study provides a strong rationale for targeting glycosylation with 2-DG in order to improve outcomes for TNBC,” commented Dr. Donald Picker, Moleculin’s Chief Science Officer.  “Historically, 2-DG hasn’t been successfully developed into a drug because of its lack of drug-like properties, including a very short half-life.  Fortunately, based on preclinical data, WP1122, a proprietary prodrug of 2-DG, appears to address that problem and significantly increases the circulation time of 2-DG and its ability to reach specific organs harboring tumors, including the pancreas.”


Walter Klemp, Moleculin’s Chairman and CEO added, “The timing of this discovery is perfect for us.  We were already pushing forward with IND-enabling preclinical testing of WP1122 for use in brain tumors and pancreatic cancer and now we see a significant expansion of its potential uses.”       Read this and more news for MBRX at   


Other recent developments in the biotech industry include:


Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE:LLY) closed Wednesday up 3.61% with more than 5.7 million shares traded by the market close. The company and NextCure Inc. recently announced a multi-year collaboration focused on the discovery and development of immuno-oncology therapies. The collaboration seeks to discover novel cancer targets utilizing NextCure’s proprietary FIND-IO™ platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly and NextCure will each receive options to exclusively license antibodies resulting from the collaboration. NextCure will receive an upfront payment of $25 million, and will be eligible for development and commercial milestones and royalty payments, should Lilly successfully develop and commercialize new cancer therapies resulting from the collaboration. Additionally, Lilly has made a $15 million equity investment in NextCure. “The emerging field of immuno-oncology is offering new treatment options and hope to cancer patients,” said Greg Plowman, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of oncology research at Lilly. “Through this collaboration, we hope to leverage NextCure’s discovery platform to expand the reach of this class of groundbreaking treatments by identifying novel cancer targets that could enable the development of a new generation of immuno-oncology therapies.”


CytomX Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:CTMX) closed Wednesday up over 25% at $15.95 with a volume north of 1.2 million on the day. The company announced it will present at the Jefferies 2018 London Healthcare Conference. Sean McCarthy, D.Phil., president and chief executive officer, will deliver a corporate overview on November 14, 2018, at 1:20 p.m. GMT/ 8:20 a.m. EST. A live audio webcast of the presentation will be available through the Investors and News section of CytomX’s website at An archived replay will be available for 90 days following the event.


Horizon Pharma Public Limited Company (NASDAQ: HZNP) came to a close up 15.97% at $22.44 on Wednesday with over 5.3 million shares traded by the market close. The company recently announced that more detailed results from the 48 week off-therapy follow-up to the Phase 2 clinical trial of teprotumumab for people living with moderate-to-severe active thyroid eye disease (TED) were presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Annual Meeting, Oct. 27 – 30, 2018, in Chicago, Ill. The data was presented in an oral session, Diplopia Response in a Controlled Trial with Teprotumumab, an IGF-1 Receptor Antagonist Antibody for Thyroid Eye Disease, at 4:57 p.m. CT today. During active TED, which can last up to three years, the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) is overexpressed on orbital fibroblasts, resulting in local inflammation and tissue expansion. This can lead to proptosis, or bulging of the eye, and depending on the degree of proptosis, pressure is created on the eyeball within a tight orbital space that can cause multiple eye symptoms. Displacement of the eye muscles subsequently cause ocular misalignment, or strabismus; as a result of which, many people living with TED also endure challenges with double vision, known as diplopia.


AbbVie Inc. (NYSE:ABBV) recently announced patent license agreements with Momenta over its proposed biosimilar adalimumab product. Under the terms of the agreements, AbbVie will grant Momenta a non-exclusive license on specified dates to AbbVie’s intellectual property relating to HUMIRA in the United States and in various other countries around the world in which AbbVie has intellectual property: Momenta’s U.S. license will begin on November 20, 2023, and will not be accelerated by the entry of companies who have already taken a license. In the European Union, Momenta can launch upon approval from the European Medicines Agency. Momenta will pay royalties to AbbVie for licensing its HUMIRA patents and acknowledges the validity of the licensed patents. AbbVie will make no payments to Momenta. The precise terms are confidential between the parties.


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