Mass High Tech
February 2, 2011
by Lori Valigra, Mass High Tech correspondent
Cambridge-based AVEO Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: AVEO) said it has started enrolling patients in a Phase 2 exploratory biological marker study of tivozanib, its lead treatment for renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
A primary goal is to evaluate biomarkers in blood and archived tissue samples and their correlation with tivozanib’s clinical activity and/or drug-related toxicity, according to the company. A biomarker can help tell how well the body responds to a treatment.
“This is an exploratory biomarker study where we are leveraging our Human Response Platform to test some biomarker hypotheses we have in RCC,” said Murray Robinson, AVEO’s senior vice president of translational medicine. Those biomarkers, he said, could point to uses of tivozanib with existing cancer drugs for more effective treatments.
“Combination studies really are the way to go in oncology,” Robinson said. “That’s what this trial is looking to set up.” The combination drugs will target RCC and other cancers, he added.
Tivozanib aims to block the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway by inhibiting all three VEGF receptors. VEGF is a protein that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and leads to the spread of cancer.
Taking place in 25 centers in the United States and Canada, the trial will evaluate biomarkers of tivozanib in about 100 patients with RCC who were not previously treated but who did have a kidney removed.
Last October, AVEO announced a $61 million private placement, and late last year released cancer data for tivozanib.
Robinson said the company is expecting to have data from its Phase 3 trial of tivozanib used as a monotherapy mid-year, and to start work in a second indication outside of RCC. At the end of fiscal 2010 the company had cash and securities of $140 million, enough to fund its operating plan for 2012.