Soligenix Announces Initiation of a Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial of SGX201 for the Prevention of Acute Radiation Enteritis
PRINCETON, N.J., Dec. 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Soligenix, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: SNGX) (Soligenix or the Company), formerly known as DOR BioPharma, Inc., a late-stage biotechnology company, announced today that it has initiated a Phase 1/2 clinical trial evaluating SGX201, a time-release formulation of oral beclomethasone 17,21-dipropionate (oral BDP), for the prevention of acute radiation enteritis. This study will be supported in large part by a two-year Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant award, which will provide Soligenix with approximately $510,000 in funding.
The Phase 1/2 protocol BDP-ENT-01 is designed as a multicenter, open-label, sequential, dose-escalation study in approximately 36 patients. Patients with rectal cancer who are scheduled to undergo concurrent radiation and chemotherapy prior to surgery will be enrolled in one of four escalating dose groups. The objectives of the study are to evaluate the safety and maximal tolerated dose of escalating doses of SGX201, as well as the preliminary efficacy of SGX201 for prevention of signs and symptoms of acute radiation enteritis. The study is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.
Acute radiation enteritis is an unmet medical need and caused by radiation-induced death of cells in the lining of the bowel. As bowel cells die and are not replaced, gastrointestinal toxicity develops over the next few days and weeks due to an inflammatory response to dead cells and bacteria, with chronic diarrhea, vomiting and pain being the major symptoms. The addition of chemotherapy often exacerbates the onset, severity and debilitation related to intestinal symptoms and itself can cause significant GI toxicity. This treatment-related enteritis often results in delay or interruption of the cancer treatment. There are over 100,000 patients annually in the United States who receive abdominal or pelvic external beam radiation treatment for cancer, and these patients are at risk of developing acute and chronic radiation enteritis.
“Radiation enteritis is a serious complication for colorectal cancer patients receiving radiation therapy that impacts their quality of life and can require treatment modification,” stated William Small, Jr., MD, FACRO, Professor and Vice Chairman, Department of Radiation Oncology, Associate Medical Director, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University and a Principal Investigator for the Phase 1/2 clinical study. “Based on oral BDP’s proven pharmacology in treating severe gastrointestinal inflammation, SGX201 represents a potential prophylactic option that would enable physicians/patients to maintain planned treatment regimens to battle the underlying malignancy. I look forward to working with Soligenix on the continued development of SGX201.”
“The initiation of this new clinical trial in radiation enteritis with SGX201 represents the next step in the expansion of our oral BDP product portfolio,” stated Christopher J. Schaber, PhD, President and CEO of Soligenix. “Based on its known pharmacology, we anticipate that oral administration of SGX201 may help to prevent or reduce the severity of acute radiation enteritis and other inflammatory diseases of the GI tract. This is now the third active clinical trial underway with orBecÃ‚® or oral BDP. We look forward to working with our Medical Advisory Board and investigational sites to complete this important proof of concept study.”
About Acute Radiation Enteritis
Radiation enteritis is a condition in which the lining of the bowel becomes swollen and inflamed during or after radiation therapy to the abdomen, pelvis or rectum. External radiation therapy is used to treat most types of cancer, including cancers of the bladder, uterus, cervix, rectum, prostate and vagina. During delivery of treatment, some level of radiation will also be delivered to healthy tissue, including the bowel, leading to acute and chronic toxicities. The large and small bowels are very sensitive to radiation. The larger the dose of radiation, the greater the potential damage to normal bowel tissue. Most tumors in the abdomen and pelvis need large doses, and almost all patients receiving radiation to the abdomen, pelvis or rectum will show signs of acute enteritis.
Patients with acute enteritis may have nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and bleeding, among other symptoms. Some patients may develop dehydration and require hospitalization. With diarrhea, the gastrointestinal tract does not function normally, and nutrients such as fat, lactose, bile salts and vitamin B12 are not well absorbed.
Symptoms will usually resolve within 2-6 weeks after therapy has ceased. Radiation enteritis is often not a self-limited illness, as over 80% of patients who receive abdominal radiation therapy complain of a persistent change in bowel habits. Moreover, acute radiation injury increases the risk of development of chronic radiation enteropathy, and overall 5% to 15% of the patients who receive abdominal or pelvic irradiation will develop chronic radiation enteritis.
SGX201 contains BDP, a highly potent, topically active corticosteroid that has a local effect on inflamed tissue. BDP has been marketed in the United States and worldwide since the early 1970s as the active pharmaceutical ingredient in inhalation products for the treatment of patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. BDP is also the active ingredient in orBecÃ‚®, currently in Phase 3 and Phase 2 development by Soligenix for the treatment and prevention of acute Graft-versus-Host disease (GVHD), respectively. SGX201 is a time-release formulation of BDP specifically designed for oral use. SGX201 has been awarded fast-track designation from the FDA for the treatment of radiation enteritis.
About Soligenix, Inc.
Soligenix, Inc. (Soligenix), formerly known as DOR BioPharma, Inc., is a late-stage biopharmaceutical company developing products to treat life-threatening side effects of cancer treatments and serious gastrointestinal diseases, and vaccines for certain bioterrorism agents. Soligenix’s lead product, orBecÃ‚® (oral beclomethasone dipropionate or BDP), is a potent, locally acting corticosteroid being developed for the treatment of GI GVHD, a common and potentially life-threatening complication of hematopoietic cell transplantation. orBecÃ‚® is currently the subject of a confirmatory Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of acute GI GVHD and an NIH-supported, Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in the prevention of acute GVHD. Both of these trials are actively enrolling patients. Soligenix has also recently initiated an NIH-supported Phase 1/2 clinical trial of SGX201 in the prevention of acute radiation enteritis. Additionally, Soligenix has a Lipid Polymer Micelle (LPM(TM)) drug delivery technology for the oral delivery of leuprolide for the treatment of prostate cancer and endometriosis.
Through its Biodefense Division, Soligenix is developing biomedical countermeasures pursuant to the Project BioShield Act of 2004. Soligenix’s lead biodefense product in development is a recombinant subunit vaccine called RiVax(TM) which is designed to protect against the lethal effects of exposure to ricin toxin. RiVax(TM) has been shown to be well tolerated and immunogenic in a Phase 1 clinical trial in normal volunteers. RiVax(TM) will also be the subject of a recent $9.4 million NIH grant received by the Company supporting development of new heat stable vaccines.
For further information regarding Soligenix, Inc., please visit the Company’s website at www.soligenix.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that reflect Soligenix, Inc.’s current expectations about its future results, performance, prospects and opportunities. Statements that are not historical facts, such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “intends,” or similar expressions, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results in future periods to differ materially from what is expressed in, or implied by, these statements. Soligenix cannot assure you that it will be able to successfully develop or commercialize products based on its technology, including SGX201, orBecÃ‚® and LPM(TM), particularly in light of the significant uncertainty inherent in developing vaccines against bioterror threats, manufacturing and conducting preclinical and clinical trials of vaccines, and obtaining regulatory approvals, that its cash expenditures will not exceed projected levels, that product development and commercialization efforts will not be reduced or discontinued due to difficulties or delays in clinical trials or due to lack of progress or positive results from research and development efforts, that it will be able to successfully obtain any further grants and awards, maintain its existing grants which are subject to performance, enter into any biodefense procurement contracts with the US Government or other countries, that the US Congress may not pass any legislation that would provide additional funding for the Project BioShield program, that it will be able to patent, register or protect its technology from challenge and products from competition or maintain or expand its license agreements with its current licensors, or that its business strategy will be successful. Important factors which may affect the future use of orBecÃ‚® for gastrointestinal GVHD include the risks that: the FDA’s requirement that Soligenix conduct additional clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of orBecÃ‚® will take a significant amount of time and money to complete and positive results leading to regulatory approval cannot be assumed; Soligenix is dependent on the expertise, effort, priorities and contractual obligations of third parties in the clinical trials, manufacturing, marketing, sales and distribution of its products; orBecÃ‚® may not gain market acceptance if it is eventually approved by the FDA; and others may develop technologies or products superior to orBecÃ‚®. Factors affecting the development and use of SGX201 and LPM(TM) are similar to those affecting orBecÃ‚®. These and other factors are described from time to time in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including, but not limited to, Soligenix’s reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K. Unless required by law, Soligenix assumes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future events.
SOURCE Soligenix, Inc.