ValiRx Plc (AIM: VAL), a life science company with a focus on cancer diagnostics and therapeutics for personalised medicine, is pleased to announce that it has established a Scientific Advisory Board ("SAB") to advise and assist the Company as it looks to further develop its technologies and products in oncology therapeutics and diagnostics.The SAB will be instrumental in the capacity of preparing to take current and future compounds into Phase I clinical trials.
The SAB will provide counsel and support across the whole gamut of ValiRx's activities, including the Company's development and positioning within the therapeutic markets, the establishment of research and clinical protocols, understanding and strategic positioning vis-à-vis the regulatory approval process and where to focus product development and investment as far as maximizing patient benefit.
Late preclinical studies into one of the Company's lead therapeutics, VAL201,carried out in collaboration with Oxford University, have firmly established a potentially important role for the compound in treating hormone induced refractory prostate cancer and other conditions of hormone induced uncontrolled cell growth including breast and ovarian cancer, among others (reported 28/07/11).
The Company is pleased to report the successful manufacture of the VAL201 compound to a regulatory compliant standard (GMP). VAL201is currently undergoing regulatory toxicology studies and the GMP produced compound will allow completion in a timely manner. The Company welcomes the support of the SAB, as it completes the preclinical process and commences the regulatory process prior to clinical trials.
The SAB includes the following:
Professor Hilary Calvert
Professor Calvert, who has recently been appointed Director of Cancer Drug Discovery and Development at the UCL Cancer Institute, is internationally known among medical oncologists for his seminal work on chemotherapy and the development of the Calvert formula, which has benefited countless patients around the world.
He has a longstanding interest in developing new drugs for cancer treatment and has been associated with several successful drugs currently used worldwide. These include carboplatin (for ovarian cancer), pemetrexed (for mesothelioma and lung cancer) and inhibitors of poly (ADP-ribose)polymerase (PARP) for familial breast and ovarian cancers. He has previously worked in the Royal Marsden Hospital and the University of Newcastle (as professor of Medical Oncology).
As well as his new appointment as Director of Cancer Drug Discovery and Development at the UCL Cancer Institute, Professor Calvert will also take over as Chair of the New Agents Committee at Cancer Research UK in December 2012. He is a member of the Department of Health's Gene Therapy Advisory Committee and has recently served on the Health Services and Public Health Research Board at the Medical Research Council. Internationally, he is a member of the EORTC Pharmacokinetics and Molecular Mechanisms Group.
Professor Hilary Calvert received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the 2009 Excellence in Oncology Awards from the British Oncological Association.
Dr Richard Harbottle
Dr Richard Harbottle is currently the Group Leader of Gene Therapy Research in the section of Molecular Medicine at Imperial College London. His research focuses on the development of DNA technologies for gene therapy, with a particular focus on the application of scaffold/matrix attachment region (S/MAR) vectors. His group utilises state-of-the-art techniques in molecular and cellular biology and bio-imaging with an emphasis in gene delivery to pre-clinical model systems. A particular focus of his group is the development of genetically marked tumour models, which can be used to investigate the molecular mechanisms of tumour formation as well as simplifying the validation of therapeutic intervention.
Richard is a founding member of the British Society for Gene Therapy and served as an elected member of its executive board since the inception of the society in 2003 until 2010. He is an active member of the society and currently contributes as a co-opted member of the executive. He is also an active member and participant of the American and European gene therapy societies and the American Association of Cancer Research.
Dr Jean-Frédéric Sauniere
Dr Jean-Frédéric Sauniere is currently medical oncologist at the Institut Paoli & Calmettes ("IPC") in Marseille, France where he coordinates the translational research and early clinical research activities of the Institute. His role also involves patent filing and partnerships with academics and pharmaceutical companies. His expertise is in medical oncology and pharmacology.
Dr Jean-Frédéric Sauniere brings 25 years of experience in drug development and business development. He has led early Phase I and Phase II studies in the area of oncology and metabolic diseases at Pfizer in the US. Dr. Sauniere served as Director of Corporate Licensing & Business Development at Pfizer, New York and as Vice President of Anaderm, a subsidiary of Pfizer. He was also a senior executive in several early stage pharmaceutical companies in the US and CEO of Shogoo Pharmaceutical in Basel, Switzerland. He is also the holder of several drugs patents in oncology and metabolic disorders.
In the last five years, Dr Sauniere served as chairman of the board of directors of Deviris Pharma in Basel, Board member at Balonco, Shogoo Pharmaceuticals and the Tech Transfer Technology Group for the Provence AlpsCote d'Azur Region ("PACA").
Dr Satu Vainikka, CEO, commented: "With the Company on the verge of clinical trials, the establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board and the appointment to it of such internationally eminent scientists and cancer specialists will prove invaluable. I am delighted by the SAB's support for the progress we are seeing in developing a treatment against hormone induced tumour growth and associated conditions and I look forward to this progress moving to the next stage."
ValiRx Plc is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel technologies and products in oncology therapeutics and diagnostics. The product focus is in the epigenomic analysis and treatment of cancer, but the technologies can be applied to other fields as well, such as neurology and inflammatory diseases.
The Company listed on AIM in October 2006 and is creating a portfolio of innovative products through investment in specific development projects. It actively manages projects within this portfolio as a trading company and is not an investment vehicle. The ValiRx business model spreads the risks of life science technology developments by minimising financial exposure and running a set of projects to defined commercial endpoints. This maximises returns to shareholders by adding value at the earlier stages where value increases per investment unit are the greatest.
The Company operates through the following divisional companies:
· ? ValiMedix is the sales and distribution division of ValiRx
· ? ValiPharma is the therapeutics division with two embedded technologies primarily directed at the treatment of cancers. Of particular note is GeneICE, ValiRx's technology for controlling rebellious genes, which was awarded a Eurostars grant to the value of €1.2 million to fund the development of the GeneICE products through preclinical stages in cancer treatments
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