CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PanTher Therapeutics, the biotech company developing drug-delivery platforms for unresectable, locally advanced solid tumors, today announced an agreement with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and the appointment of a new senior clinical advisor. The collaboration will support preclinical testing of PanTher’s lead product for pancreatic cancer, PTM-101, and is intended to demonstrate readiness for future human clinical trials.

Pancreatic cancer survival rates have remained static over the last 40 years, in large part due to the difficulty in treating the disease. Most pancreatic tumors cannot be removed easily through surgery by the time they are discovered and are resistant to standard chemotherapy treatments. Now the third leading cause of cancer deaths, the disease affects more than 53,000 Americans annually, with more than $4 billion spent on pancreatic cancer care in the U.S. alone. PanTher’s proprietary technology involves a drug-delivery platform that releases the drug directly into the tumor while providing a mechanical barrier, implanted in a minimally invasive procedure. Preclinical testing to date has shown that this approach results in dramatically enhanced local chemotherapeutic delivery that spares nearby organs, likely reducing the risk of side effects.

“We are thrilled to be working with one of the world’s leading medical research centers for pancreatic cancer,” said Laura Indolfi, CEO of PanTher Therapeutics. “By putting cutting-edge, innovative science like PanTher’s in the hands of leading clinicians, we believe we can finally begin to change outcomes for this devastating disease.” 

PanTher’s lead product, PTM-101, is a novel drug-eluting matrix enabling the release of already FDA-approved cytotoxic agents directly into tumor masses. Using FDA-approved biodegradable polymers, the platform allows for the release of high payloads of cytotoxic agents, resulting in intra-tumoral concentrations not achievable with systemic administration. PanTher designed its transformative therapeutic platform to be implanted directly onto the primary tumor through an open or laparoscopic surgical procedure where it will provide constant, tailored drug delivery over a time scale of weeks to months — and then biodegrade and it is absorbed by the body. While these initial trials will examine its efficacy in treating pancreatic adenocarcinoma, PanTher plans to apply the technology for use in other solid tumor applications in the near future. 

Ching-Wei Tzeng, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Surgical Oncology, will be lead researcher for the project. Dr. Tzeng specializes in advanced pancreatic and liver surgery and has a research focus on optimizing multimodal therapy for high-risk gastrointestinal cancers. Joining him will be Michael Kim, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Surgical Oncology, who specializes in the management of pancreatic cancer and cystic neoplasms of the pancreas. 

Dr. Indolfi continued, “Our initial tests with Dr. Tzeng and Dr. Kim have generated very promising safety results and validated the localized delivery of drug at the site of PTM-101 implantation. It is our hope that this technology will further improve oncologic outcomes in patients with borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic adenocarcinoma.”  

Separately, PanTher also announced that Jason Fleming, MD, chair and senior member of the Department of Gastrointestinal Oncology at Moffit Cancer Center, joined PanTher as a senior clinical advisor. An author on more than 200 publications, Dr. Fleming is a practicing surgical oncologist and active researcher, whose interests include novel surgical methods, biomarkers, and drug development.   

Commenting on Dr. Fleming’s appointment, PanTher’s Dr. Indolfi said, “We are privileged to have Dr. Jason Fleming join PanTher’s team and to benefit from his guidance and expertise and look forward to working with him as we move into clinical development.” 

“We are impressed with the data PanTher has generated so far, and very excited about the application of PanTher’s technology to the treatment of pancreatic adenocarcinoma,” said Dr. Fleming. “PanTher’s technology has the potential to change the paradigm for pancreatic and other difficult-to-treat gastrointestinal cancers – I’m looking forward to working with Laura and her team.”

About PanTher Therapeutics

PanTher Therapeutics is a privately owned, early-stage biotech company that has developed superior technology designed to revolutionize the treatment of inoperable, locally advanced solid tumors. The lead indication target for PanTher’s technology platform is pancreatic cancer, one of the most lethal cancers whose survival rates have not changed significantly in 40 years. By enabling consistent, long-term local delivery of anticancer agents to resistant tumors, PanTher’s products have the potential to enhance drug efficacy dramatically with significantly reduced side effects and improved quality of life.

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Caroline Grossman
PanTher Therapeutics
(781) 771-5579
Caroline@mirepoixllc.com