NEW YORK, Jan. 06, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BeyondSpring Pharmaceuticals Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative cancer therapies including a Phase III immuno-oncology compound Plinabulin, today announced that they have entered into a five-year collaboration agreement with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center of Seattle, Washington to develop innovative oncology therapeutics and diagnostics in the Company’s pipeline.
The collaboration will be led by Dr. Eric Holland, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Director of The Human Biology Division at Fred Hutchinson. Under the terms of the agreement, Fred Hutchinson will provide up to six new projects per year as potential ground-breaking cancer treatment or diagnostics options for license to the Company. BeyondSpring brings to the partnership an experienced research and development team that has brought multiple oncology products to market and sufficient resources to advance agents to global Phase III trials. Together, the two aim to identify promising assets and advance them to late-stage development for the treatment of a variety of cancer types.
BeyondSpring and Fred Hutchinson will conduct a range of pre-clinical and clinical studies for selected candidates as part of the research program for which BeyondSpring will provide funding.
“We are pleased to have this new initiative with BeyondSpring,” commented Dr. Nicole Robinson, Vice President of Business Development & Industry Relations at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. “Fred Hutchinson has vast expertise in discovery and early clinical development of oncology agents, and we are looking forward to aligning with the dynamic team at BeyondSpring to develop the most innovative and effective options for cancer patients.”
“We are delighted to be collaborating with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. This partnership will broaden BeyondSpring’s pipeline and further strengthen our research and development engine. With our experienced R&D team and clinical resources in the US and China, we believe that we can expeditiously advance these assets and enroll select patients in clinical trials to get to the finish line faster,” said Dr. Lan Huang, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of BeyondSpring. “We are confident that this relationship will further position BeyondSpring at the forefront of the cancer treatment and immuno-oncology space.”
BeyondSpring’s lead therapeutic candidate, Plinabulin, has begun a Phase III study to treat non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). This 550-patient clinical trial will be conducted in the United States, China, Australia and New Zealand. Evaluation and enrollment of patients in the U.S. has commenced, with additional sites to be added. The company recently announced that the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has given a CTA (Clinical Trial Authorization) for the initiation of the China arm of the study.
Plinabulin has been evaluated in over 140 patients in the U.S. and select international locations. It has demonstrated promising anti-cancer activity in addition to a favorable safety profile. Plinabulin works via multiple mechanisms of action to alter the tumor microenvironment including: 1) acting as an immuno-oncology agent to induce dendritic cell maturation and generate an amplified immune response to the cancer; 2) activating the JNK pathway to induce tumor cell apoptosis; and 3) obliterating existing tumor vasculature via the destruction of tumor vascular endothelium by inhibiting tubulin polymerization. Plinabulin may be particularly effective against large tumors because of their more abundant tumor vasculature and greater tumor antigen. BeyondSpring is investigating additional clinical programs for Plinabulin in combination with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors and for other indications.
About BeyondSpring Pharmaceuticals
BeyondSpring Pharmaceuticals is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative cancer therapies. BeyondSpring is focused on the advancement and commercialization of Plinabulin, a novel, Phase III cancer therapeutic initially targeting non-small-cell lung cancer.
Operationally, BeyondSpring utilizes a unique U.S.-China co-development platform to optimize clinical development speed while reducing costs. The Company has significant experience interacting with the FDA and CFDA. Thus, patient recruitment and clinical trials can be run simultaneously in both geographies, which offers the potential to substantially lower the cost of drug discovery/development and increase the speed of advancing novel therapies to clinical trials and, ultimately, to the market.
The Company has additional next-generation immuno-oncology assets, as well as a technology platform for targeted drugs and research collaboration with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Led by an expert management team consisting of pharmaceutical industry veterans from the U.S. and China, the Company is well positioned to further advance lead product candidate, Plinabulin, and its other programs. For more information, visit www.beyondspringpharma.com.
About Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, home to three Nobel laureates, interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists seek new and innovative ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases. Fred Hutch’s pioneering work in bone marrow transplantation led to the development of immunotherapy, which harnesses the power of the immune system to treat cancer with minimal side effects. An independent, nonprofit research institute based in Seattle, Fred Hutch houses the nation’s first and largest cancer prevention research program, as well as the clinical coordinating center of the Women’s Health Initiative and the international headquarters of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network. Private contributions are essential for enabling Fred Hutch scientists to explore novel research opportunities that lead to important medical breakthroughs. For more information visit www.fredhutch.org or follow Fred Hutch on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.
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