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  • Starpharma (SPL) has seen positive results from a trial of its anti-cancer treatment
  • Recently, the company combined its DEP irinotecan treatment with an immuno-oncology (IO) therapy
  • During the trial, Starpharma saw superior anti-tumour activity and an increase in survival in two colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) models, compared to the IO therapy alone
  • The median survival for the combined treatment was 40 days, again compared to just 13 days with the IO therapy
  • Starpharma is in the grey on the market today and is selling shares for $1.17 each

Starpharma (SPL) has seen positive results from a trial of its anti-cancer treatment.

The company combined its DEP irinotecan treatment with an immuno-oncology (IO) therapy. During the trial, Starpharma saw superior anti-tumour activity and an increase in survival in two colorectal cancer (bowel cancer) models compared to the IO therapy alone.

The median survival for the combined treatment was 40 days, again compared to just 13 days with the IO therapy.

“The enhanced combination benefit seen with DEP irinotecan was not seen with
conventional irinotecan plus the same IO agent,” the company explained.

IO agents have been approved and successful in a range of cancers, such as lung cancers and melanoma. However, treatments have been unsuccessful with other cancers such as colorectal. Significantly, between 30 and 60 per cent of patients have not responded to the IO treatment alone.

DEP Irinotecan

DEP irinotecan has only recently progressed to a phase two clinical trial.

In phase one, the trial was conducted in the United Kingdom and patients generally experienced fewer severe side effects than with the conventional irinotecan. There were no cases of severe diarrhoea, for which conventional irinotecan has a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) black box warning.

CEO Dr Jackie Fairley is pleased with the benefits of combining the two treatments.

“Therefore, there is significant commercial interest in combination approaches, including with chemotherapeutics, to overcome this limitation,” she said.

“In addition, there have been no observations of immune-mediated toxicities in patients treated with DEP irinotecan. Given immune-mediated toxicities can be problematic with IO agents, the lack of overlapping side-effects further strengthens the rationale for combining IO agents with DEP irinotecan,” she added.

Starpharama believes these results could potentially open up significant commercial opportunities.

DEP irinotecan is one of three DEP products in clinical development by the company. The market for IO agents is expected to be over US$55 billion (roughly A$79.92 billion) by 2025.

Starpharma is in the grey on the market today and is selling shares for $1.17 each at 1:00 pm AEST.

SPL by the numbers
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