Glioblastoma is a rare form of brain cancer that sees less than 200,000 new cases in the United States annually. Vancouver-based Biotech company DelMar Pharmaceuticals Inc DMPI 1.77% is making significant strides in fighting this rare disease.
With maximum treatment, glioblastoma remains a devastating disease, with the most common length of survival following diagnosis being 12–15 months, with less than 3–5 percent of people surviving longer than five years.
DelMar Pharmaceuticals is taking aggressive steps to combat this disease and create a more favorable outcome with those burdened with a glioblastoma diagnosis.
Its product, VAL-083, is under clinical trials and isn't just some moonshot therapy. It possesses a unique anti-cancer mechanism to overcome chemotherapy resistance, a major reason why most glioblastoma patients don't make it. The company will transition to a late state clinical development this year.
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Essentially, VAL-083 attacks the tumor's DNA at a different point compared to current therapy. Another key differentiator with VAL-083 is that it crosses the blood brain barrier, something that most chemotherapies are currently incapable of. This further strengthens its ability to treat brain tumors, which has been the company's primary area of clinical focus to date.
"Median survival in the past had been 8 months for glioblastoma, just by adding our drug in addition to radiotherapy, lived 17 months, changing the game. There is clear evidence that we are going to do something in this population," said DelMar Pharmaceutical CEO Jeffrey Bacha in an exclusive Benzinga interview.
"We really believe this drug can have an impact for patients in some very important and very large big cancer, while that is exciting from an investor point of view, but also from a patient point of view where patients have very little options, it is life changing," added Bacha.
The market potential could be quite large. For example, Merck & Co., Inc. MRK 0.18%'s brain cancer drug Temodar generated $989 million in revenue in 2013 before it came off patent. Glioblastoma is a billion-dollar market.
"Even though we are starting out in a focused niche, it really does have true blockbuster potential," Bacha said.
DelMar Pharmaceutical's new clinical studies are making headway for some patients and families desperate to find a cure for this devastating disease.
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