While conducting its NeoFox study, several activities are underway for cancer therapy company WntResearch to build value in the development project with Foxy-5. In its 2021 year-end report, it is clear that the company has a forward-looking focus, in particular regarding the continued patient recruitment and widening possibilities with Foxy-5. In addition, Pernilla Sandwall has been recruited as the new CEO for the company, starting at the end of April.
WntResearch develops the drug candidate Foxy-5, a peptide that mimics the WNT5A protein. Previous research has shown that high levels of the protein reduce the risk of spreading cancer cells that can form metastases, and the company’s goal is for Foxy-5 to be able to replicate this effect. Preclinical study data have shown that the candidate is able to counteract metastasis in different cancer types, and the phase II study NeoFox is currently underway with the goal of reducing the risk of disease recurrence in patients with colon cancer.
Read more about the latest updates regarding the NeoFox study here.
Focus on patient recruitment and business development
In the year-end report for 2021, acting CEO Anders Rabbe, who left the company on February 15, states that the company was able to carry out several necessary activities last year to overcome the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, it has built on the company’s clinical and commercial development plan with the aim of eventually reaching market approval for Foxy-5.
Furthermore, the company is fully financed until the spring of 2023 and secured access to study material to conduct the ongoing phase II trial.
As the pandemic has led to slower patient recruitment, WntResearch has had to implement a number of measures to increase patient influx, e.g. increasing the number of participating hospitals and more frequent physical visits to treating doctors. The measures have had an effect since 105 patients have now been randomised in the study, with the aim of conducting an interim analysis of 120 patients by December 2022.
Strategic work to explore the potential of Foxy-5
However, NeoFox is not WntResearch’s only focus. In parallel with the study, strategic work is underway with the aim of developing a broader basis for the clinical and commercial potential of Foxy-5. In 2022, the plan is to expand this work and enter several research collaborations with internationally renowned research groups to, among other things, explore the possibilities of developing Foxy-5 in new disease indications.
A clear example of a research collaboration that has already borne fruit is the one with University of Campinas in São Paulo. promising results were recently announced from a project in which a research team at the Hematology and Transfusion Medicine Center investigated the potential role of the candidate in the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Based on these findings, the company has filed a patent application regarding the use of Foxy-5 as a potential treatment of AML. You can read more about the company’s view of this news here.
Better solubility for Foxy-5
In parallel, work is underway to find a new dosage form for Foxy-5, which today has limited solubility. WntResearch recently announced that it has now identified several new compositions with the drug candidate, all of which have a better solubility than the one currently being tested in the NeoFox study. The company notes that all compositions have excellent stability.
The evaluation of the compositions will continue during the year, after which the company will select the most suitable composition and then move forward with the scaling up of the production. In connection with the development, the company has submitted a patent application that it believes offers broad protection for the new compositions. If approved, in addition to the broadened protection, it would also extend the patent protection for Foxy-5 until 2041.
The hope is that the new compositions will ultimately bring benefits to both healthcare providers and cancer patients, as well as expand the commercial potential of Foxy-5.
Pernilla Sandwall new CEO of WntResearch
Perhaps the most important activity recently, however, has been to find a new CEO to succeed Anders Rabbe. Last week, WntResearch announced that Pernilla Sandwall will join the company at the end of April. Pernilla comes most recently from a role as Chief Operating Officer at InDex Pharmaceuticals, where she has had an important role in developing the company and taking its pharmaceutical projects from phase II to phase III.
The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.
»As the CEO, I am really looking forward to continuing to develop the company and execute the ongoing study with Foxy-5 for prevention of metastases and the spread of cancer. Both the company and the project have great potential and it is with great enthusiasm that I will start as the CEO.« — Pernilla Sandwall, incoming CEO WntResearch.