PsiOxus Cancer Treatment Better Than Placebo, Study Finds

Cancer patients who took PsiOxus Therapeutics Ltd.’s MT-102 medicine for cachexia tied to the illness gained more weight than those given a placebo in a mid-stage study to be presented next month at a conference in Japan.

PsiOxus, the closely held Abingdon, England-based company that’s also developing a vaccine derived from a virus to attack cancer cells, said that trial data showed lung and colon cancer patients taking 10 milligrams of MT-102 twice daily had a “statistically significant” increase in median body weight. Those on a placebo lost weight, the company said.

“Over 90 percent of the high-dose patients who reached the end of the study had weight gain,” Chief Executive Officer John Beadle said in a telephone interview.

Complete data will be released on Dec. 9 at the 7th International Conference of the Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders in Kobe, Japan. The company, whose investors include GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s SROne venture-capital fund and Lundbeckfond Ventures, has initiated discussions with potential partners for a late-stage study and expects it will take until next year to reach an agreement, Beadle said.

“We could probably do it, but we would prefer to do it with a partner,” Beadle said.

Investment Total

About 30 million pounds ($48 million) has been put into in the company, Beadle said. Other investors include Imperial Innovations Group Plc, Invesco Perpetual and Mercia Fund Management Ltd. Board members include Paolo Paoletti, president of GlaxoSmithKline’s oncology unit; Matthew Foy, a partner at SROne; and Lundbeckfond Ventures Managing Partner Mette Kirstine Agger.

The MT-102 study enrolled 87 patients with stage III or IV lung or colorectal cancer who also had cachexia and compared changes in their body weight at 112 days. The body-wasting syndrome is the immediate cause of death in 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer patients, according to the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

PsiOxus is also testing the ColoAd1 oncolytic cancer vaccine in three trials. It’s targeting the start of a mid-stage study in the colorectal cancer trial early next year, with early-stage results published later in 2014, Beadle said.

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