Medivation, Inc. has announced the acquisition of a series of small molecule compounds (the MDVN 300 series of compounds) targeting hormone-refractory prostate cancer (HRPC).
"The MDVN 300 compounds hold potential to help HRPC patients who currently face largely ineffective treatment options,” said David Hung, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Medivation.
“These compounds were identified through Dr. Sawyers' pioneering work to learn the reasons prostate cancer patients become resistant to hormone therapy, and we are quite enthusiastic about the preclinical data Dr. Sawyers has generated with them."
"Medivation seeks to build a portfolio of technologies that address large, unmet clinical needs, have strong intellectual property positions and can enter clinical development within 12 to 18 months after acquisition," he added.
"This promising new HRPC treatment technology meets all strategic objectives of our business model."
Dr. Sawyers discovered that one of the important mechanisms by which resistance develops is over-expression of the androgen receptor.
This finding, which was published in the journal Nature Medicine in 2004, was important in guiding the design of potential new therapeutic agents to treat HRPC.
Based on this key discovery, Dr. Sawyers in collaboration with Michael Jung, Ph.D., in UCLA's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, rationally designed a series of 160 small molecule compounds to bind to and block the androgen receptor in a manner designed to treat HRPC.
Their tests of the compounds in human HRPC cells found that several of the compounds appeared to inhibit the growth of those cells better than Casodex®, a leading hormonal therapy that generated $1 billion in global sales in 2004.
Dr. David Hung concluded, "The prostate cancer indication is particularly interesting because we can use prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a widely used serum marker of prostate cancer growth, to follow tumor responses to get an early indication of efficacy.”
“We believe this may facilitate the timely selection of an optimal dose of our lead molecule for a pivotal efficacy study, which could shorten timelines and lower the risk of this program."