Data connects preclinical and clinical studies validating ArQule’s precision medicine strategy
BURLINGTON, Mass., Nov. 09, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ArQule, Inc. (Nasdaq:ARQL) today announced the results of preclinical and clinical studies focusing on tivantinib, ARQ 087, ARQ 092, and ARQ 751. The data were presented at the AACR-NCI-EORTC meeting on November 7th, 2015. The poster presentations can be accessed in the “Investor and Media” section of our website, www.arqule.com, under “Recent Data Presentations.”
For the first time, data from an exploratory sub-analysis of the MARQUEE trial with tivantinib in non-small cell lung cancer in patients with advanced disease and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations were presented. The data showed tivantinib, when added to erlotinib, increased progression-free survival to 13 months compared to 7.5 months in the erlotinib plus placebo arm. The sub-analysis included 109 patients of which 56 were in the combination tivantinib plus erlotinib arm of the trial. The data were highlighted in an AACR press release and press conference.
“The data from the sub-analysis of the MARQUEE trial supports our focus on precision medicine,” said Brian Schwartz, M.D., Head of Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at ArQule. “Although the study did not meet its primary endpoint, this analysis is encouraging and offers evidence that tivantinib when dosed in a specific patient population can provide substantial benefit.”
Additionally, the company presented pre-clinical and clinical data on its early stage proprietary pipeline that support ArQule’s efforts to address the needs of patients in therapeutic areas of high unmet need through precision medicine. Data presented on FGFR inhibitor, ARQ 087, demonstrate that FGFR2 dysregulation correlates with efficacy and supports the on-going phase 2 trial in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Similarly, data presented on AKT inhibitors, ARQ 092 and ARQ 751, demonstrate that both drugs inhibit AKT and provide strong rationale for further studies in patients harboring AKT1 and PI3K mutations.
“Data presented at this year’s AACR-NCI-EORTC conference are part of ArQule’s translational effort to connect preclinical and clinical research and guide a true precision medicine endeavor,” said Giovanni Abbadessa, Vice President of Clinical Development, Translational Medicine and Medical Affairs at ArQule. “Both ARQ 092 and ARQ 087 have shown single-agent activity in vitro, in vivo and in patients in cancers driven by genetic alterations of their respective targets, AKT and FGFR. In addition, these pre-clinical data find confirmation in the clinical results achieved by ARQ 087 and ARQ 092 in their respective phase 1 clinical trials in genetically-altered endometrial and breast cancer and in FGFR2-driven cholangiocarcinoma, respectively. Combinability data reported for both experimental drugs with standard therapies may allow even more development options for the future.”
Tivantinib is enrolling in two biomarker-driven phase 3 trials, METIV-HCC and JET-HCC. ARQ 087 is enrolling in a biomarker-driven phase 2 trial in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA) with FGFR translocations. ARQ 092 is enrolling in a phase 1b biomarker-driven trial in patients with AKT and PI3K activating mutations including patients with breast, endometrial and ovarian cancers.
About MET and tivantinib (ARQ 197)
Tivantinib is an orally administered, selective inhibitor of MET, a receptor tyrosine kinase, which is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials. In healthy adult cells, MET can be present in normal levels to support natural cellular function, but in cancer cells, MET can be inappropriately and continuously activated. When abnormally activated, MET plays multiple roles in aspects of human cancer, including cancer cell growth, survival, angiogenesis, invasion and metastasis. The activation of certain cell signaling pathways, including MET, has also been associated with the development of resistance to anti-EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) antibodies such as cetuximab and panitumumab.
Pre-clinical data have demonstrated that tivantinib inhibits MET activation in a range of human tumor cell lines and shows anti-tumor activity against several human tumor xenografts. In clinical trials to date, treatment with tivantinib has been generally well tolerated and has shown clinical activity in a number of tumors. Tivantinib has not yet been approved for any indication in any country.
In December 2008, ArQule and Daiichi Sankyo signed a license, co-development and co-commercialization agreement for tivantinib in the U.S., Europe, South America and the rest of the world, excluding Japan, China (including Hong Kong), South Korea and Taiwan.
About the AKT Pathway, ARQ 092 and ARQ 751
ARQ 092 and ARQ 751 are orally available, selective small molecule inhibitors of the AKT kinase. The AKT pathway when abnormally activated is implicated in multiple oncogenic processes such as cell proliferation and apoptosis. This pathway has emerged as a target of potential therapeutic relevance for compounds that inhibit its activity, which has been linked to a variety of cancers as well as to select non-oncology indications.
ARQ 092, the lead compound in ArQule’s AKT program, has completed Phase 1a clinical testing and has advanced into Phase 1b expansion testing in cohorts of patients with endometrial cancer, lymphoma and tumors harboring either AKT or PI3K mutations. A number of next-generation compounds in the Company’s AKT program are in early to late stages of pre-clinical development. The company plans to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) application by the end of 2015 for ARQ 751, a next generation AKT inhibitor.
About FGFR and ARQ 087
ARQ 087 is a multi-kinase inhibitor designed to preferentially inhibit the fibroblast growth factor receptor (“FGFR”) family with demonstrated efficacy in FGFR2 amplified tumors. The FGFR pathway is disrupted in several ways in human cancer, thus providing numerous therapeutic targets for an inhibitor of this pathway. ARQ 087 has demonstrated inhibition of tumor growth and downstream signaling in vivo in tumors whose growth is driven by these targets.
Signals of single agent activity with this compound were observed in Phase 1a testing. Phase 1b expansion cohorts with ARQ 087 include patients with cholangiocarcinoma and adrenocortical tumors, as well as those with FGFR translocations, amplification and mutations. Clinical development of ARQ 087 has advanced into Phase 2 for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (“iCCA”) following the observation of two confirmed partial responses in this patient population in the Phase 1 portion of the program.
ArQule is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the research and development of targeted therapeutics to treat cancers and rare diseases. Our mission is to discover, develop and commercialize novel small molecule drugs in areas of high unmet need that will dramatically extend and improve the lives of our patients. Our prioritized clinical-stage pipeline consists of four drug candidates, all of which are in targeted, biomarker-defined patient populations, making ArQule an early leader in precision medicine. ArQule’s lead product, in Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical development, is tivantinib (ARQ 197), an oral, selective inhibitor of the c-MET receptor tyrosine kinase. The Company’s pipeline includes: ARQ 092, designed to inhibit the AKT serine/threonine kinase; ARQ 087, a multi-kinase inhibitor designed to preferentially inhibit the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) family; and ARQ 761, a Beta lapachone analog being evaluated as a promoter of NQ01-mediated programmed cancer cell necrosis. ArQule’s current discovery efforts are focused on the identification of novel kinase inhibitors, leveraging the Company’s proprietary library of compounds.
This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding the Company’s clinical trials and planned clinical trials with tivantinib (ARQ 197), ARQ 092, ARQ 087 and ARQ 751. These statements are based on the Company’s current beliefs and expectations, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Positive information about pre-clinical and early stage clinical trial results does not ensure that later stage or larger scale clinical trials will be successful. For example, tivantinib, ARQ 092, ARQ 087 and ARQ 751 may not demonstrate promising therapeutic effect; in addition, they may not demonstrate appropriate safety profiles in current or later stage or larger scale clinical trials as a result of known or as yet unanticipated side effects. The results achieved in later stage trials may not be sufficient to meet applicable regulatory standards or to justify further development. Problems or delays may arise prior to the initiation of planned clinical trials, including with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), during clinical trials or in the course of developing, testing or manufacturing these compounds that could lead the Company or its partners and collaborators, including the NIH, to fail to initiate or to discontinue development. Even if later stage clinical trials are successful, unexpected concerns may arise from subsequent analysis of data or from additional data. Obstacles may arise or issues may be identified in connection with review of clinical data with regulatory authorities. Regulatory authorities may disagree with the Company’s view of the data or require additional data or information or additional studies. In addition, the planned timing of initiation and completion of clinical trials for tivantinib is subject to the ability of the Company as well as Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., our development partner for tivantinib, and Kyowa Hakko Kirin, a licensee of tivantinib, to enroll patients, enter into agreements with clinical trial sites and investigators, and overcome technical hurdles and other issues related to the conduct of the trials for which each of them is responsible. There is a risk that these issues may not be successfully resolved. In addition, we and our partners are utilizing a companion diagnostic to identify MET-high patients in the METIV-HCC and JET-HCC trials, and we expect to utilize diagnostic tools in our biomarker-guided clinical trials with ARQ 087, ARQ 092 and ARQ 751; we may encounter difficulties in developing and obtaining approval for companion diagnostics, including issues relating to selectivity/specificity, analytical validation, reproducibility, or clinical validation. Any delay or failure by our collaborators or ourselves to develop or obtain regulatory approval of the companion diagnostics could delay or prevent approval of our product candidates. Drug development involves a high degree of risk. Only a small number of research and development programs result in the commercialization of a product. Positive pre-clinical data may not be supported in later stages of development. Furthermore, ArQule may not have the financial or human resources to successfully pursue drug discovery in the future. Moreover, with respect to partnered programs, even if certain compounds show initial promise, Daiichi Sankyo or Kyowa Hakko Kirin may decide not to continue to develop them. In addition, Daiichi Sankyo and Kyowa Hakko Kirin have certain rights to unilaterally terminate their agreements with ArQule. If either company were to do so, the Company might not be able to complete development and commercialization of the applicable licensed products on its own. For more detailed information on the risks and uncertainties associated with the Company’s drug development and other activities, see the Company’s periodic reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements.
Sr. Director, Investor Relations/