Oslo, 28 May 2021 – PCI Biotech (OSE: PCIB), a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company today announced that the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) in South Korea has granted Orphan Drug Designation to its lead product candidate, fimaporfin, for combination treatment with gemcitabine in patients with inoperable locally advanced or metastatic bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). No approved treatment alternatives exist today for the first-line treatment of patients with this disease and fimaChem (fimaporfin) has the potential to play a role in this area of high unmet medical need.
“The RELEASE trial has in general shown promise with good recruitment activity in South Korea despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Receiving orphan status from the South Korean authorities is a key step in the development of this important new medicine for Asian cancer patients in need of better local treatments. PCI Biotech’s fimaChem treatment is well suited for treatment of bile duct cancer, with easy light access through routine endoscopic methods.” said Dr. Per Walday, CEO of PCI Biotech. “Orphan designation in South Korea, in addition to the already granted orphan designations in EU and USA, are all significant regulatory milestones and recognises the therapeutic benefits we seek to bring to the patients.”
Per Walday, CEO
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About bile duct cancer and the fimaChem technology
The bile duct drains bile from the liver into the small intestine. Bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) is a cancer that affects the cell lining of the bile duct and represents a patient population with a high unmet medical need. Surgery is the only potential curative option for these patients, but most patients are inoperable at presentation. Inoperable patients are treated with stenting to keep the bile duct open and with chemotherapy. Median survival of inoperable patients is between 11 and 12 months with the current standard of care treatment, which is a chemotherapy combination of gemcitabine and cisplatin. Biliary tract sepsis, liver failure and/or malnutrition and cachexia due to locoregional effects of the disease are the most important causes of death, so there is a high need for better locoregional treatments. The locoregional anti-cancer effect of gemcitabine is significantly enhanced by the fimaChem technology in preclinical studies, and early clinical treatment data suggest encouraging tumour response and survival in bile duct cancer patients.
Bile duct cancer is a rare disease with an incidence rate of 1-2 per 100,000 in the western world. The incidence rates are increasing worldwide and are generally higher in Asian countries. The immediate target for PCI Biotech is first-line treatment of inoperable patients with extrahepatic disease. The fimaChem treatment regimen consists of an intravenous injection of fimaporfin, followed four days later by an intravenous infusion of gemcitabine and a laser light application in the bile duct easily administered through endoscopic methods used routinely in these patients. The patients then follow the standard background treatment with up to 8 chemotherapy cycles of gemcitabine + cisplatin. The fimaChem treatment may be repeated during the background chemotherapy treatment cycles.
About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on development and commercialisation of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer through its innovative photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology platform. PCI is applied to three distinct anticancer paradigms: fimaChem (enhancement of chemotherapeutics for localised treatment of cancer), fimaVacc (T-cell induction technology for therapeutic vaccination), and fimaNAc (nucleic acid therapeutics delivery).
Photochemical internalisation induces triggered endosomal release that is used to unlock the true potential of a wide array of therapeutic modalities. The company’s lead fimaChem programme consists of a clinical Phase I/II clinical study in bile duct cancer, an orphan indication with a high unmet need and without approved products. fimaVacc applies a unique mode of action to enhance the essential cytotoxic effect of therapeutic cancer vaccines, which works in synergy with several other state-of-the-art vaccination technologies. fimaNAc utilises the endosomal release to provide intracellular delivery of nucleic acids, such as mRNA and RNAi therapeutics, thereby addressing one of the major bottlenecks facing this emerging and promising field.
For further information, please visit: www.pcibiotech.com
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, which as such are not historical facts, but are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions. These assumptions are inherently subject to significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors. Such risks, uncertainties, contingencies and other important factors could cause actual events to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in this announcement by such forward-looking statements. PCI Biotech disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.