July 25, 2008
WEX Announces Presentation at Scientific Conference
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 25, 2008) - WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("WEX" or the "Company") (TSX:WXI) announced today that Dr. Neil Hagen, the lead investigator for WEX's Phase III clinical trial of TTX, will make a presentation titled "Tetrodotoxin (TTX): From Poison to Medicine" at the IXth World Conference on Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in Quebec City, Quebec on July 28. For more information, please see www.cpt2008.com.
Tetrodotoxin (TTX), a highly selective sodium channel blocker derived from the puffer fish. Sodium channels are found on nerves and are involved in transmission of nerve impulses. Tetrodotoxin targets a subset of sodium channels found on nerves which conduct pain impulses. There are changes to this subset of sodium channels in chronic pain conditions. Tetrodotoxin is extremely potent, and much lower dosages are needed to produce an analgesic effect than with other drugs.
WEX recently started a Phase III clinical trial of TTX for the treatment of cancer pain. This clinical trial (TEC-006) is a multicentre, randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled trial comparing the efficacy and safety of TTX to placebo in approximately 120 patients with moderate to severe inadequately controlled cancer- related pain.
At present, the management of severe cancer pain generally includes the use of morphine and other opiates. This can often result in undesirable side effects, and treatment with this type of medication is not always effective. Because currently available pain- relieving therapy is unsatisfactory for many patients, there is a need for new therapeutic approaches for the management of moderate or severe cancer pain.
In addition to the unmet medical need, the number of patients suffering from cancer continues to grow. In North America alone, based on estimates provided by the American Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Society, 1,604,820 were diagnosed with cancer in the United States and Canada in 2007. Between 75% and 90% of patients with metastatic or advanced stage cancer will experience significant cancer-induced pain. In hospitalized patients, 79% experience pain, with 46% experiencing severe pain despite analgesic therapy. Moreover, the actual treatment of cancer can cause pain, with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy occurring in about half of patients receiving some types of chemotherapy. The global market for pain therapeutics used in cancer patients was approximately US$15.2 billion in 2005 and this is expected to reach at least US$23 billion by 2010.
About WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc.
WEX Pharmaceuticals Inc. is dedicated to the discovery, development, manufacture and commercialization of innovative drug products to treat pain. The Company's principal business strategy is to derive drugs from naturally occurring toxins and develop proprietary products for the global market.
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