Invion improves upon Photosoft non-immunosuppressive cancer therapy

Invion ASX IVX Photosoft cancer therapy
New in vitro data shows IVX-P02 is 15 times more effective than Photosoft Oral at killing ovarian cancer cells.

Life sciences company Invion (ASX: IVX) has reported that it has managed to increase the effectiveness of its non-immunosuppressive cancer therapy technology following the development of a new formulation of its proprietary Photosoft technology.

Invion hopes to create a new breed of cancer treatment that can affect cancer types which have already become resistant to current chemotherapies.

Invion describes itself as a clinical-stage company that is leading the development of Photosoft technology for the treatment of various cancers including ovarian cancer.

The company has been named as “exclusive distributor and licensee” of Photosoft in Australia and New Zealand by technology licensor, The Cho Group, a Hong Kong-based group that has funded and successfully commercialised several technologies in the past.

Speaking at ComBio 2018, Australia’s major biochemistry and molecular biology conference earlier this week, Invion CEO Dr Greg Collier said that the company’s latest data “lays the groundwork for ongoing preclinical trials” of Photosoft and IVX-P02 as an indication for chemo-resistant, solid ovarian tumours.

Dr Collier also suggested that Invion will move into clinical trials early next year having made strong progress as part of its research and development phase done to date.

Non-invasive cancer treatment

Working with its research partner, the Hudson Institute of Medical Research in Australia, Invion said that researchers compared the efficacy of four photosensitisers used in photodynamic therapy (PDT), including Photosoft Oral and an improved formulation of Photosoft called IVX-P02, in in-vitro tests against ovarian cancer cells.

One of the main findings was that IVX-P02 had a “15-fold greater in vitro cytotoxicity against ovarian cancer cells”, compared to Photosoft Oral.

Furthermore, Invion reports that Photosoft and IVX-P02 showed enhanced cytotoxicity compared to the two commercially-available photosensitisers currently available: Talaporfin and Temoporfin.

Temoporfin is a photosensitiser based on chlorin and used in PDT for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. It is currently marketed in the EU under brand name Foscan.

Interestingly, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refused to approve Foscan back in 2000 but was instead approved by EU regulators merely a year later in 2001.

Talaporfin is another photosensitiser, otherwise known as “aspartyl chlorin” and also widely used in PDT. According to its distributor, Light Sciences Oncology, it absorbs red light at 664-667nm and is typically provided by a laser tuned to this wavelength. It was approved in Japan in 2004 for the treatment of lung cancer and is currently being marketed under brand name Laserphyrin.

Improved efficiency

Invion has said its technology is significantly more efficient at killing ovarian cancer cells and reports improved functionality including a better handle on mitigating the level of toxicity.

“The new version of Photosoft, IVX-P02, has a greatly improved ability to kill cancer cells, even more so than its predecessors,” said Dr Greg Collier, CEO of Invion.

Our latest findings “lay the groundwork for ongoing preclinical trials of Photosoft and IVX-P02” as an indication for chemo-resistant, solid ovarian tumours with plans already in motion that will see Invion “moving into clinical trials early next year,” according to Dr Collier.

To fund its research and development program, Dr Collier said Invion’s licence partner, The Cho Group, will step in to ensure the technology is clinically tested and fully approved for sale to consumers.

Invion has said that its ongoing work with the Hudson Institute is now moving into the preclinical study stage to determine the in vivo effects of Photosoft Oral and IVX-P02 – not only for the direct treatment of ovarian cancers but also to “induce an anti-tumor immune response which could potentially provide effective protection after treatment.”

In contrast to surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which are mostly immunosuppressive, PDT causes acute inflammation, expression of heat-shock proteins and invasion and infiltration of a tumour by leukocytes.

If successful, Invion’s non-immunosuppressive treatment could gazump highly toxic treatments currently being implemented in Australia and other developed countries and reduce the negative effect of standard radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

The biotech developer has confirmed that it has received ethics approval to start animal studies “in the coming weeks”, with the first results expected by the end of the year.

This morning’s news helped Invion shares to record a gain of around 3%, currently trading at $0.036 per share.

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