VANCOUVER, British Columbia and DOYLESTOWN, Pa., Aug. 25, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Arbutus Biopharma Corporation (NASDAQ:ABUS), an industry-leading therapeutic solutions company focused on developing a cure for chronic hepatitis B virus infection (HBV), today announced the initiation of dosing in the 20 subject expansion cohort of the TKM-PLK1 hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) Phase IIa clinical study. This study is designed to evaluate TKM-PLK1’s safety and efficacy in treating HCC patients.
“This is an important milestone for the company as we continue the execution of our strategy to progress our HBV-related clinical candidates,” said Dr. Mark J. Murray, Arbutus’ President and CEO. “HCC is one of the most common cancers in the world, primarily caused by an underlying chronic HBV infection. The goal of this study is to further evaluate the anti-tumor efficacy of TKM-PLK1 in treating HCC patients.”
The ongoing Phase IIa TKM-PLK1 HCC clinical study is currently underway in multiple sites in Canada, the United States and Asia. TKM-PLK1 is administered weekly with each four-week cycle consisting of three once-weekly doses followed by a rest week, and the efficacy will be assessed in approximately 20 subjects. The HCC efficacy endpoint of the study is tumor response rate.
TKM-PLK1 targets polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1), a protein involved in tumor cell proliferation and a validated oncology target. Inhibition of PLK1 expression prevents the tumor cell from completing cell division, resulting in cell cycle arrest and death of the cancer cell. We are currently evaluating TKM-PLK1 in clinical trials with patients who have gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors (GI-NET), adrenocortical carcinoma (ACC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing a cure for patients suffering from chronic hepatitis B infection (HBV). Our strategy is to target the three pillars necessary to develop a curative regimen for HBV: suppressing HBV replication within liver cells, stimulating and reactivating the body’s immune system so that it can mount an effective defense against the virus and, eliminating the reservoir of viral genomic material known as covalently closed circular DNA, or cccDNA that is the source of HBV persistence. Our portfolio of assets includes a broad pipeline of drug candidates for use in combination to develop a cure for HBV. To support continuous discovery of potential novel drug candidates and technologies, Arbutus has a research collaboration agreement with the Baruch S. Blumberg Institute that provides exclusive rights to in-license any intellectual property generated through the relationship. The Baruch S. Blumberg Institute was established in 2003 by the Hepatitis B Foundation.
Arbutus is headquartered in Vancouver, BC, Canada with offices in Doylestown, PA, USA. For more information, visit www.arbutusbio.com.