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  • Race Oncology (RAC) releases positive final results from a preclinical research program exploring the use of Zantrene with drug combinations to treat melanoma
  • The company reports that when combined with standard of care BRAF and MEK protein kinase inhibitors, Zantrene can more effectively kill human melanoma cells and better target human melanoma tumours in a mouse model
  • Race says these results support future clinical trials of Zantrene in combination with BRAF and MEK inhibitors to potential improve outcomes for melanoma patients
  • RAC shares are up 2.70 per cent to trade at $1.90 at 10:47 am AEST

Race Oncology (RAC) has released final results from its preclinical melanoma research program which was conducted with the University of Newcastle.

The program explored the use of Race Oncology’s Zantrene (bisantrene dihydrochloride) in novel drug combinations to treat immunotherapy and drug resistant melanomas using cell and mouse models.

As a single agent in previous research, Zantrene has proven to be highly effective at killing melanoma cell subtypes, showing an association between FTO expression levels and melanoma cell sensitivity to Zantrene.

Today’s results show that Zantrene, in combination with standard of care BRAF and MEK protein kinase inhibitors, improves the killing of human melanoma cells and can better target melanoma in organoid and animal tumour models.

When synergised with BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib, Zantrene significantly slows the growth of human melanoma tumours in mice.

The BRAF and MEK inhibitors are newer targeted treatments that have proven to be effective in treating melanoma. However, the majority of patients treated with an inhibitor of mutant BRAF kinases eventually suffer a relapse, resistance to treatment and disease progression.

The company said these results offer potential non-immunotherapeutic pathways for Zantrene to be used to treat melanoma.

CEO Phillip Lynch said the final results adds to the Zantrene research and its potential.

“While there is a lot of combination work being completed around the world with checkpoint inhibitors, there is much less competition from combinations with BRAF/MEK inhibitors,” Mr Lynch said.

“This therefore presents an interesting commercial angle for Race to explore as we assess how to best show Zantrene’s value to potential partners, regulators and patients.”

Race Oncology has submitted a new patent protecting these findings and if it’s granted, the patent would be valid until 2042.

Looking ahead, the healthcare stock will identify the best clinical treatment opportunity by optimising dosage and drug combinations.

It will also undertake further preclinical studies using other BRAF and MEK inhibitors to explore the Zantrene synergies and improve treatment for advanced melanoma patients.

Depending on these, Race said there’s potential to begin a human trial in 2023 but no concrete plans are in place as of yet.

RAC shares were up 2.70 per cent to trade at $1.90 at 10:47 am AEST.

RAC by the numbers
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