CodeX Discovery's strategy for the delivery of oncology therapeutics is to advance candidates in diseases where a clear clinical endpoint would be evident on provision of an efficacious ligand, and where intelligent Phase I trial design would facilitate accelerated progression into other therapeutic indications. The first programme to be advanced will be the lead optimisation of compounds acting on Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) - a lung cancer linked to asbestos exposure.
MPM is an aggressive, invariably fatal, treatment-resistant tumour, which is increasing in frequency throughout the world. MPM has been unambiguously associated with exposure to asbestos for half a century with the onset of disease occurring typically 20-50 years post exposure to the causal agent.
Contrary to belief that curbs in asbestos use have negated the condition, global incidence of MPM continues to increase. Up to 10,000 asbestos-related mesotheliomas occur annually across the population of Western Europe, North America, Japan and Australia. Western Europe will see a doubling of mesothelioma instances by 2020.
The small molecule ligand series that CodeX will advance will afford oral clinical intervention in a disease with significant unmet need, likely facilitating Orphan designation in regulatory progression. Importantly, the molecular target has broader oncology applicability beyond MPM, facilitating repositioning of the ligands post Phase I to other cancers and more financially attractive markets.