Brain Cancer Program

Cancerous tumors that have outgrown their blood supply and become hypoxic are often resistant to conventional radiation and chemotherapy. Glioblastoma (or glioblastoma multiforme, GBM) is the most common and aggressive type of primary brain cancer, and also one of the most hypoxic (oxygen deprived).  Each year, GBM affects approximately 12,000 patients in the U.S. and approximately 35,000 patients worldwide. Almost three-quarters die within two-years of diagnosis.

Glioma tumors arise from glial cells that surround and support nerve cells within the brain and spinal cord. The standard of care is surgical removal of as much of the tumor as possible, followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy. This combination has been shown to increase survival relative to radiotherapy alone. However, only a quarter of patients are still alive two years post-diagnosis.

In GBM, we believe TSC can be used to re-oxygenate treatment-resistant cancerous tissue, making the cells more susceptible to the therapeutic effects of standard-of-care radiation therapy and chemotherapy. A Phase 2 clinical study was completed in the second quarter of 2015 that evaluated 59 patients with newly diagnosed GBM, a particularly deadly form of brain cancer for which TSC has received an Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA. This open-label, historically controlled study demonstrated a favorable safety profile for TSC when combined with standard of care treatment for GBM. Although not prospectively defined, a subgroup analysis of inoperable patients suggested a higher proportion of TSC-treated patients survived at two years compared to those in the historical control group.

Based upon data from the inoperable patient subgroup in the Phase 2 study, we initiated the INvestigation of TSC Against Cancerous Tumors (“INTACT”) Phase 3 trial in the newly diagnosed inoperable GBM patient population in December 2017. The trial was designed to enroll 236 patients in total, with 118 in the treatment arm and 118 in the control arm. The trial began with an FDA-mandated, open-label dose-escalation, safety run-in for which enrollment was completed and is now closed. A total of 19 patients were enrolled to ensure that at least 8 completed the FDA-specified 42-month exposure period.

At a meeting in the third quarter of 2019, the INTACT Trial Data Safety Monitoring Board (“DSMB”) concluded, based on their analysis, that no adverse safety signal was present and unanimously recommended the study continue as planned using the highest tested dose of TSC (1.5 mg/kg) during the adjuvant treatment chemotherapy period with temozolomide. Commencement of enrollment in the randomization portion of the INTACT Phase 3 Trial has been suspended, as the Company reprioritizes its resources to the shorter-duration COVID-19 studies designed to demonstrate TSC’s effectiveness. Restart and completion of the INTACT GBM study is contingent upon the availability of significant additional capital, which would need to be obtained through a financing event, strategic partnership or other mechanism.

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