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Innovation Pharmaceuticals:  Oral Cancer on the Rise; Company Offers Perspectives on Opportunity of Brilacidin for the Prevention of Oral Mucositis

927 Days ago

  • Oral cancer incidence increasing worldwide due to spread of human papillomavirus (HPV), Oral Sex
  • Millions of patients worldwide suffer from treatment-induced Oral Mucositis (OM)
  • Existing OM therapies are mainly palliative in nature and poorly reimbursed
  • Annual global commercial opportunity for novel OM treatments estimated to be $500M to $2.5B

BEVERLY, Mass., Nov. 13, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Innovation Pharmaceuticals (OTCQB:IPIX) (“the Company”), a clinical stage pharmaceutical company, is pleased to provide perspectives on the unmet patient need in OM and global commercial opportunity of Brilacidin, the Company’s defensin-mimetic drug candidate, for the prevention of Severe Oral Mucositis (SOM) in Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) patients receiving chemoradiation.

“Quite simply, OM is a significant unmet patient need in supportive cancer care, with a sizable commercial opportunity attached to delivering novel OM therapies,” said Arthur P. Bertolino, MD, PhD, MBA, President and Chief Medical Officer at Innovation Pharmaceuticals. “We believe that Brilacidin, as a result of our promising Phase 2 results showing a marked reduction in the incidence of SOM, further advantaged by a patient-friendly oral rinse formulation conveniently packaged in sachet form, leads the competitive field of OM drugs in development. Negotiations with potential pharmaceutical partners interested in licensing our Brilacidin for OM asset continue, with the Company remaining diligent as it works toward executing the next step in the drug candidate’s development.”

Over 500,000 Annual Cases of SOM Globally by 2025 and No Drugs on Market Today

Millions of patients worldwide suffer from OM, a costly and debilitating side-effect of chemoradiation, with the majority of therapies currently in use consisting of medical devices that are palliative in nature and poorly reimbursed. OM is particularly common in HNC, affecting each year approximately 65,000, 150,000, and 300,000 patients respectively in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Worldwide, by 2025, annual new HNC cases are expected to approach 930,000. Almost all HNC patients will develop some form of OM, with ~70 percent developing SOM. Patients with SOM are more likely to experience treatment-limiting and even life-threatening interruptions in their chemoradiation regimens. Additional costs incurred due to SOM range from $18,000 to over $42,000 per case on average.

Rising Rates of Oral Cancer

While the incidence of many cancers is decreasing, oral cancer is on the rise. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 657,000 cases of oral or oropharyngeal cancer (including the larynx) are reported annually worldwide. Common causes are the sexually transmitted HPV, smoking and alcohol consumption. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 7 out of every 10 oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV. About 43 percent of patients with oral cavity cancer die within five years.

Large Void, Up to $2.5 Billion Global Annual Market Opportunity

Various pharmaceutical companies are conducting clinical trials in an attempt to bring OM drugs to market. One company, Galera Therapeutics, an OM-focused pharma, raised $150 million in October 2018, and recently completed a $60 million IPO, to fund the development of its OM drug candidate. A safe and effective drug to prevent—or even reduce the duration of SOM—has the potential to fill a large void in supportive cancer care and capture a substantial new market, an annual global commercial opportunity estimated to range between $500 million and $2.5 billion.

Compelling Economics, Attractive Marketing Dynamic

The Company estimates relatively low Cost-of-Goods to produce Brilacidin oral rinse per course of treatment, thereby creating favorable economics to price the product competitively and still generate healthy margins. Palifermin (Kepivance™), the only approved drug to treat OM (in Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation), was priced at $8,250 upon product launch in 2005, and currently is priced at approximately $16,000. ProGrow Pharma Partners estimates the market price for novel OM drugs to be between $9,000 (Europe) and $18,000 (U.S.). By eliminating the considerable associated patient costs attributable to OM, surveys of payers in the U.S. have indicated a willingness to pay up to $20,000 for a preventative OM treatment.

Currently, about 2,500 facilities in the U.S. treat HNC patients undergoing chemoradiation regimens. As a subset, approximately 60 percent of all HNC patients are treated in just 500 of these facilities. A small salesforce could thus be deployed to detail physicians and other care professionals treating a majority of HNC patients. This marketing dynamic further lends to the attractive economics for the development of a drug in this category of medical need.

About Brilacidin Phase 2 Oral Mucositis Trial

The Company’s Brilacidin oral rinse for OM demonstrated a strong therapeutic benefit in HNC patients receiving the aggressive chemotherapy regimen (cisplatin administered 80-100 mg/m2, every 21 days), which currently is in common use. In this patient population, incidence of SOM (WHO Grade ≥ 3) was reduced to 25.0 percent in the modified Intent-to-Treat (mITT) population, versus 71.4 percent in the placebo patient group. In the Per Protocol (PP) patient group, incidence of SOM dropped to 14.3 percent for patients receiving Brilacidin, compared to 72.7 percent among those receiving placebo.

The completed Phase 2 study (see NCT02324335) met its primary endpoint, showing a reduction of SOM incidence versus placebo, as well as beneficial treatment effects in reducing the duration of SOM and in delaying the onset of SOM. Furthermore, Brilacidin showed a favorable safety profile and ­was well-tolerated.

About Brilacidin and Severe Oral Mucositis

There currently are no FDA-approved drugs for the prevention of Severe OM (SOM) (WHO Grade ≥ 3) in HNC patients receiving chemoradiation. The additional expenses incurred by patients suffering from SOM are estimated to be as high as $18,000 to over $42,000 per case in the U.S. when hospitalization is required. These factors contribute to SOM qualifying as an area of significant unmet medical need. According to published statistics, the number of new annual HNC cases in the U.S. is estimated to be 65,000, and worldwide, ~750,000 cases. Approximately 70 percent of HNC patients receiving chemoradiation typically will develop Severe OM, with the overall incidence of HNC patients developing some grade of OM (WHO Grades 1 to 4) approaching 100 percent. Because it cannot be predicted which patients will develop SOM, a preventative treatment, such as Brilacidin oral rinse, would begin in all patients as soon as starting chemoradiation and continue until its completion (typically a seven-week course). Given Brilacidin is administered as a convenient oral rinse, with plans to package it in an easily transportable sachet form, the Company believes it would be attractive both to doctors and patients—likely translating to widespread and rapid market adoption should Brilacidin oral rinse gain regulatory approval.

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About Innovation Pharmaceuticals
Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc. (IPIX) is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a world-class portfolio of innovative therapies addressing multiple areas of unmet medical need, including inflammatory diseases, cancer, infectious disease, and dermatologic diseases. Brilacidin, a versatile compound with broad therapeutic potential, is in a new chemical class called defensin-mimetics. A Phase 2 trial of Brilacidin as an oral rinse for the prevention of Severe Oral Mucositis (SOM) in patients with Head and Neck Cancer, met its primary and secondary endpoints, including reducing the incidence of SOM. The Company plans to advance Brilacidin oral rinse into Phase 3 development, subject to available financial resources. Positive results were also observed in a Phase 2 Proof-of-Concept trial treating patients locally with Brilacidin for Ulcerative Proctitis/Ulcerative Proctosigmoiditis (UP/UPS). Brilacidin for UP/UPS was licensed to Alfasigma S.p.A. in July 2019. A Phase 2b trial of Brilacidin showed a single intravenous dose of the drug delivered comparable outcomes to a seven-day dosing regimen of the FDA-approved blockbuster daptomycin in treating Acute Bacterial Skin and Skin Structure Infection. Kevetrin is a novel anti-cancer drug shown to modulate p53, often referred to as the “Guardian Angel Gene” due to its crucial role in controlling cell mutations and has successfully completed a Phase 2 trial in Ovarian Cancer. More information is available on the Company website at www.IPharmInc.com.

Forward-Looking Statements : This press release contains forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 including statements concerning the future execution of a definitive agreement with a global pharmaceutical company and the anticipated terms thereof, our future drug development plans, other statements regarding future product developments, and markets, including with respect to specific indications, and any other statements which are other than statements of historical fact. These statements involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause the Company’s actual results and experience to differ materially from anticipated results and expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements. The Company has in some cases identified forward-looking statements by using words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “hopes,” “estimates,” “looks,” “expects,” “plans,” “intends,” “goal,” “potential,” “may,” “suggest,” and similar expressions. Among other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements are the Company’s need for, and the availability of, substantial capital in the future to fund its operations and research and development;  the Company’s licensee(s) may not successfully complete pre-clinical or clinical testing and the Company will not receive milestone payments; or the Company’s compounds may not successfully complete pre-clinical or clinical testing, or be granted regulatory approval to be sold and marketed in the United States or elsewhere. A more complete description of these risk factors is included in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to release publicly the results of any revisions to any such forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this press release or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by applicable law or regulation.

Innovation Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Leo Ehrlich

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