Synta, MMRC announce clinical trial for Hsp90 inhibitor
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


NORWALK, Conn.óSynta Pharmaceuticals and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC) have announced the beginning of a clinical trial to study ganetespib, a second-generation Hsp90 inhibitor currently under development by Synta. The trial will examine ganetespib as both a single agent and in combination with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (VELCADE) for the treatment of relapsed multiple myeloma.  
"Our continued investment in drug development, whether through our annual Biotech Investment Awards or through our new Clinical Fund projects with biopharmas like Synta, signify the MMRF's continued commitment to share in the risk of drug development to ensure promising treatments are brought to patients as quickly as possible," Kathy Giusti, founder and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and MMRC.
The trial will be funded by the MMRF, who will contribute up to $1 million for the undertaking. The funding is made possible by the donor-supported MMRF Clinical Fund, which allows the MMRF to invest in multiple myeloma compounds that have hit roadblocks due to financial constraints.  
The trial will be conducted through the MMRC, a consortium of 16 academic institutions and community centers who are working together to accelerate the development of new treatments for multiple myeloma via the promotion and support of collaborative research partnerships between industry and academia. According to a recent study, the MMRC has served to enroll patients 10 percent faster when compared to the baseline enrollment timeline, with 67 percent of trials meeting pre-study enrollment commitments 4.5 months, or 34 percent, faster when compared to the baseline enrollment timeline.  
"Working with the MMRF and the MMRC provides both the resources and the access to top-tier investigators and clinical trial sites that can be of tremendous help in accelerating the potential of novel therapies, such as ganetespib, to benefit patients with multiple myeloma," Safi Bahcall, Ph.D., president and CEO of Synta, said in a press release. "We are excited to begin this partnership."  
"Ganetespib has already demonstrated clear signals of single-agent activity in several tumor types and a favorable safety profile. We believe that patients with multiple myeloma may also benefit from treatment with an Hsp90 inhibitor such as ganetespib," Sagar Lonial, M.D., Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University and principal investigator on the Phase I trial, said in a press release.  
"An earlier Phase Ib clinical trial of the first generation Hsp90 inhibitors 17AAG and 17DMAG in combination with bortezomib in multiple myeloma demonstrated signs of activity in patients who had experienced a median of four prior therapies," Lonial continued. "Based on these results, we believe that ganetespib, a second-generation, small-molecule inhibitor of Hsp90, may provide benefit to patients with multiple myeloma."
Ganetespib is a potent, synthetic, small-molecule inhibitor of heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), a molecular chaperone necessary for the proper folding and activation of a multitude of cancer-promoting proteins. Hsp90 has been identified as a key contributor to the growth and survival of cancer cells, and in preclinical experiments, ganetespib has shown activity in several tumor models as both a single agent and when combined with certain widely used cancer agents. The compound is being examined in over 20 clinical trials, and to date has shown to be well tolerated.  
SOURCE: Synta Pharmaceuticals press release
Code: E04121200

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