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News Article | July 17, 2017

"Jay's appointment is a key and timely addition to our team as we advance our breakthrough discovery and pre-clinical assets to address unmet needs in oncology," said Dr. Fahar Merchant, CEO.  "He brings a wealth of experience to the Company and together with his extensive network in academia and industry, we expect to speed the pace of collaborations in the exciting sphere of cancer immunotherapy.  We are appreciative of Dr. Sam Denmeade's efforts and contributions as the founding CSO and are pleased that he will continue to play an important role as our scientific advisor," added Dr. Merchant. "I am excited to join the Medicenna team to progress the development and commercialization of such a promising library of targeted Empowered Cytokines™ and Superkines™ for the treatment of cancer," stated Dr. Stoudemire. Dr. Stoudemire brings over 25 years of experience in developing novel drug candidates to address unmet medical needs across diverse therapeutic areas. Jay's industrial experience includes both early stage biotechnology and well-established pharmaceutical companies. He has held senior positions at Genentech, Ascenta Therapeutics, Chugai-Roche Pharmaceuticals, Cytel, Genetics Institute, and Xoma.  He has a record of success developing and leading the strategy and execution of both biologic and small molecule drug development programs from lead optimization to product approval including Atemra (tocilizumab), Neumega (Interleukin-11), and INFUSE bone graft (BMP-2). He joins Medicenna from Mirna Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MIRN), where he was Vice President of Preclinical Development, Regulatory, and Quality Assurance and led the team driving oncology drug development efforts for multiple microRNA-based therapeutics spanning discovery- to clinical-stage programs. Dr. Stoudemire received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Miami and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. He is a founding member of the BioSafe Executive Committee, a full member of the Society of Toxicology, and American College of Toxicologists. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this press release. This news release contains forward-looking statements relating to the future operations of the Company and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as "will", "may", "should", "anticipate", "expects" and similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact, included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding how promising a library of targeted Empowered Cytokines™ and Superkines™ for the treatment of cancer Medicenna has, that our discovery and pre-clinical assets are considered breakthrough,  that the speed and pace of collaborations related to our pre-clinical programs will improve following Dr. Stoudemire's appointment and others are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company's expectations include the risks detailed in the filing statement of the Company dated February 27, 2017 and in other filings made by the Company with the applicable securities regulators from time to time. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of any forward-looking information may prove to be incorrect. Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and the Company will update or revise publicly any of the included forward-looking statements only as expressly required by Canadian securities law.

Sonpavde G.,Texas Oncology And Us Oncology Research | Matveev V.,Russian Academy of Medical Sciences | Burke J.M.,Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers | Caton J.R.,Willamette Valley Cancer Center | And 9 more authors.
Annals of Oncology | Year: 2012

Background: AT-101 (A), a small molecule oral inhibitor of the Bcl-2 family, has activity alone and in combination with docetaxel (Taxotere) and prednisone (DP) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II trial compared DP combined with either AT-101 (A) or placebo in chemonaive mCRPC.Patients and methods: Men with progressive mCRPC despite androgen deprivation were eligible and randomized 1 1. Patients received docetaxel (75 mg/m 2 day 1) and prednisone 5 mg orally twice daily every 21 days with either AT-101 (40 mg) or placebo twice daily orally on days 1-3. The primary end point was overall survival (OS).Results: Two hundred and twenty-one patients were randomly assigned. Median OS for AT-101 plus docetaxel-prednisone (ADP) and placebo-DP was 18.1 versus 17.8 months [hazard ratio (HR) 1.07, 95% confidence interval 0.72-1.55, P = 0.63]. Secondary end points were also not statistically different. Grade 3/4 toxic effects for ADP versus placebo-DP were cardiac events (5% versus 2%), lymphopenia (23% versus 16%), neutropenia (47% versus 40%), ileus (2% versus 0%) and pulmonary embolism (6% versus 2%). In a subgroup of high-risk mCRPC (n = 34), outcomes appeared to favor ADP (median OS 19 versus 14 months).Conclusions: AT-101 was tolerable but did not extend OS when combined with DP in mCRPC; a potential benefit was observed in high-risk patients. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology. All rights reserved.

Ready N.,Duke University | Karaseva N.A.,St Petersburg City Clinical Oncology Center | Orlov S.V.,State Higher Educational Institution | Luft A.V.,Leningrad Regional Clinical Hospital | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Thoracic Oncology | Year: 2011

Background: AT-101 is an inhibitor of Bcl-2 family proteins including Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, Mcl-1, and Bcl-w. In vivo and in vitro studies have exhibited broad activity of AT-101, including synergy with docetaxel in non-small cell lung cancer tumor models. Methods: We conducted a prospective, randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 study. Eligible patients must have received one prior chemotherapeutic regimen for advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer and may also have received therapy with an epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor. Patients received AT-101 (40 mg b.i.d. × 3 days) or placebo in combination with docetaxel (75 mg/m on day 1) every 21 days. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) as determined by independent review; other endpoints include overall survival and PFS by investigator determination. Approximately 102 patients were planned to provide 70 events (80% power, hazard ratio [HR] of 0.6, one-sided alpha of 0.1). Results: One hundred six patients were assigned to treatment and 105 patients received at least one dose of AT-101 or placebo. Baseline factors were balanced between treatment groups: median age 59 years; 77% men, and 79% current or former smokers. Ninety-three percent of patients had distant metastatic disease at randomization and 56% squamous histology. The most frequently reported adverse events were fatigue (18%), anemia (18%), and dyspnea (18%). No statistically significant differences in serious adverse events were observed between AT-101 and placebo; grade 1/2 headaches appeared more frequently with AT-101 (9% versus 0%) and neutropenia was reported more frequently in the docetaxel plus placebo arm compared with docetaxel plus AT-101 (17% versus 8%). Unlike trials with continuous daily dosing of AT-101, no cases of small bowel obstruction were reported. The response rate and median PFS were not different between the arms by independent review, PFS 7.5 weeks for docetaxel plus AT-101 and 7.1 weeks for docetaxel plus placebo arms (HR, 1.04; p = 0.57). The median overall survival was 7.8 months for docetaxel plus AT-101 versus 5.9 months for docetaxel plus placebo (HR, 0.82; p = 0.21). Conclusions: The primary endpoint of improved PFS for AT-101 plus docetaxel was not met. AT-101 plus docetaxel was well tolerated with an adverse event profile indistinguishable from the base docetaxel regimen. AT-101 is the first oral, pan Bcl-2 family inhibitor to exhibit a possible survival benefit in a randomized study. Copyright © 2011 by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer.

Lin J.,Chinese PLA General Hospital | Wu Y.,Peking Union Medical College | Yang D.,Ascenta Therapeutics | Zhao Y.,Peking Union Medical College
Oncology Reports | Year: 2013

Gossypol is a naturally occurring polyphenolic compound extracted from cotton plants. Recent studies revealed that gossypol is a non-peptidic small molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2/Bcl-xl. The aim of the present study was to investigate the induction of apoptosis and antitumor effects of gossypol acetate in multiple myeloma and the possible mechanism(s) of action. Our results showed that gossypol acetate resulted in a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of multiple myeloma cell proliferation, with an IC50 value to both U266 and Wus1 cells at 2.4, 2.2 μM at 48 h after treatment. Gossypol acetate effectively induced the apoptosis of multiple myeloma cells as demonstrated by typical morphological changes, DNA ladder formation and increase in the percentage of cells in subdiploid peak. Furthermore, colorimetric assays showed activation of both caspase-3 and caspase-9. Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl expression was decreased by 86.5±1.2% and 35.9±3.6%, respectively, after treatment with gossypol acetate at 25 μmol/l for 24 h. Preliminary studies in vivo showed that a growth inhibition (T/C) of 30.9% (gossypol acetate 40 mg/kg) was obtained in Balb/C mice bearing Wus1 cells. In addition, there was no body weight loss for the treated group in comparison with the vehicle mice. Our results demonstrated that the potent inhibitor of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl gossypol acetate had significant antiproliferative and antiapoptotic effects on multiple myeloma cells in vitro and in vivo. Gossypol acetate may represent a promising new anticancer agent with a novel molecular mechanism and warrants further investigation as a single agent, or in combination with other chemotherapeutics, for human multiple myeloma with Bcl-2 overexpression.

Jones R.J.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Baladandayuthapani V.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Neelapu S.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | Fayad L.E.,University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center | And 5 more authors.
Blood | Year: 2011

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) usually responds well to initial therapy but is prone to relapses with chemoresistant disease, indicating the need for novel therapeutic approaches. Inhibition of the p53 E3 ligase human homolog of the murine double minute protein-2 (HDM-2) with MI-63 has been validated as one such strategy in wild-type (wt) p53 models, and our genomic and proteomic analyses demonstrated that MI-63 suppressed the expression of the ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) subunit M2 (RRM2). This effect occurred in association with induction of p21 and cell-cycle arrest at G1/S and prompted us to examine combinations with the RNR inhibitor 2′,2′-difluoro- 2′-deoxycytidine (gemcitabine). The regimen of MI-63-gemcitabine induced enhanced, synergistic antiproliferative, and proapoptotic effects in wtp53 MCL cell lines. Addition of exogenous dNTPs reversed this effect, whereas shRNAmediated inhibition of RRM2 was sufficient to induce synergy with gemcitabine. Combination therapy of MCLmurine xenografts with gemcitabine and MI-219, the in vivo analog of MI-63, resulted in enhanced antitumor activity. Finally, synergy was seen with MI-63-gemcitabine in primary patient samples that were found to express high levels of RRM2 compared with MCL cell lines. These findings provide a framework for translation of the rational combination of an HDM-2 and RNR inhibitor to the clinic for patients with relapsed wtp53 MCL. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology.

Pond G.R.,McMaster University | Armstrong A.J.,Duke University | Wood B.A.,Ascenta Therapeutics | Brookes M.,Ascenta Therapeutics | And 7 more authors.
European Urology | Year: 2012

Background: The optimal number of 3-wk docetaxel plus prednisone (DP) cycles for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is unclear. Objective: A retrospective analysis of two clinical trials was performed to evaluate the association of the number of cycles with overall survival (OS). Design, setting, and participants: An exploratory analysis compared outcomes of 332 men who received DP in the TAX-327 trial, which stipulated up to 10 cycles, and 220 men who received DP in CS-205, a randomized phase 2 trial comparing DP plus AT-101 (bcl-2 inhibitor) versus DP plus placebo, which allowed up to 17 cycles. Measurements: Patients who completed 10 cycles of DP without progression in both trials were included. Men in both arms of CS-205 were combined for analysis, as no significant differences in outcomes were observed. OS was estimated from the date of cycle 10 docetaxel infusion. Results and limitations: The number of men receiving 10 cycles was similar (p = 0.26) in the two trials (166 [50.0%] in TAX-327 vs 99 [45.0%] in CS-205; the latter group received a median of five additional cycles). Six- and 12-mo estimated survival after cycle 10 was 92.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 86.9-95.4%) and 74.6% (CI, 67.2-80.5%) in TAX-327, compared with 92.8% (CI, 85.5-96.5) and 63.4% (CI, 51.8-72.9%) in CS-205. Subanalyses suggested that <10 cycles may have a negative impact and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) declines at cycle 10 may carry a favorable impact. The significance of continued PSA declines up to 17 cycles is unclear. Limitations of a retrospective analysis apply. Conclusions: A survival benefit was not detected with >10 cycles of DP in men with mCRPC in this retrospective hypothesis-generating analysis. © 2011 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Azmi A.S.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | Philip P.A.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | Beck F.W.J.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | Wang Z.,Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute | And 6 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2011

Zinc has a crucial role in the biology of p53 in that p53 binds to DNA through a structurally complex domain stabilized by zinc atom. The p53 negative regulator MDM2 protein also carries a C-terminal RING domain that coordinates two zinc atoms, which are responsible for p53 nuclear export and proteasomal degradation. In this clinically translatable study, we explored the critical role of zinc on p53 reactivation by MDM2 inhibitor, MI-219, in colon and breast cancer cells. ZnCl 2 enhanced MI-219 activity (3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT), apoptosis and colony formation), and chelation of zinc not only blocked the activity of MI-219, but also suppressed reactivation of the p53 and its downstream effector molecules p21 WAF1 and Bax. N,N,N′N′-tetrakis()[2-pyridylmethyl]-ethylenediamine (TPEN), a specific zinc chelator, but not 1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)-ethane-N,N,N′, N′-tetraacetic acid (Bapta-AM), a calcium chelator, blocked MI-219-induced apoptosis. Nuclear localization is a prerequisite for proper functioning of p53 and our results confirm that TPEN, and not Bapta-AM, could abrogate p53 nuclear localization and it interfered with p53 transcriptional activation. Addition of zinc suppressed the known p53 feedback MDM2 activation, which could be restored by TPEN. Co-immunoprecipitation studies verified that MI-219-mediated MDM2-p53 disruption could be suppressed by TPEN and restored by zinc. As such, single-agent therapies that target MDM2 inhibition, without supplemental zinc, may not be optimal in certain patients owing to the less recognized mild zinc deficiency among the at-risk population as in the elderly who are more prone to cancers. Therefore, use of supplemental zinc with MI-219 will benefit the overall efficacy of MIs and this potent combination warrants further investigation. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Pond G.R.,McMaster University | Armstrong A.J.,Duke Cancer Institute | Wood B.A.,Ascenta Therapeutics | Leopold L.,Ascenta Therapeutics | And 3 more authors.
BJU International | Year: 2012

OBJECTIVE: • Given the recent emergence of C-reactive protein levels as a novel prognostic factor in men with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), we sought to evaluate the independent prognostic ability of C-reactive protein in the context of published prognostic nomograms, risk grouping and disease state models in men receiving docetaxel-based chemotherapy for mCRPC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: • A large randomized phase II trial (CS-205) of mCRPC patients who received docetaxel-prednisone + AT-101 (Bcl-2 inhibitor) or docetaxel-prednisone + placebo was analyzed retrospectively ( n = 220). • Overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS) and measures of discriminatory ability were assessed in a hypothesis-generating analysis using Cox regression and concordance probabilities. • Patients from both treatment groups were combined for this analysis because no significant differences in outcomes were observed. • Because some factors used in nomograms were not collected or defined differently, risk was estimated based on slightly modified versions of nomograms. RESULTS: • C-reactive protein was independently prognostic for OS and PFS ( P ≤ 0.002) after adjusting for all modeled risk estimates and classifiers. • C-reactive protein showed a concordance probability of 0.65 for both OS and PFS. • A 10-factor modified prognostic model based on the TAX327 trial had the greatest observed discrimination ability for OS and PFS (concordance probability = 0.623 and 0.603, respectively) among the modified nomograms or classifiers. • Adding the TAX327 model risk estimates to C-reactive protein did not substantially increase discrimination ability over C-reactive protein alone. CONCLUSIONS: • Current prognostic classifications provide modest discrimination of outcomes in mCRPC receiving docetaxel-based chemotherapy, highlighting the need for improved risk-based models. • Baseline C-reactive protein appears to be an useful, independent prognostic factor and prospective external validation is warranted. © 2012 BJU International.

University of Michigan, Sanofi S.A. and Ascenta Therapeutics | Date: 2011-11-11

Provided herein are compounds, compositions, and methods in the field of medicinal chemistry. The compounds and compositions provided herein relate to spiro-oxindoles which function as antagonists of the interaction between p53 and MDM2, and their use as therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and other diseases.

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