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TRACON reports positive observations from cancer trials

TRACON Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported positive observations from clinical trials of its drug candidates TRC105 and TRC102.

While TRC105 is an endoglin antibody being developed for treating solid tumors in combination with vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors, TRC102 is a small molecule under development for treating lung cancer and glioblastoma — a malignant tumor affecting the brain.

In a phase 1b trial where patients suffering from advanced soft tissue sarcoma were treated with a combination therapy of TRC105 and Novartis AG's Votrient, patients with more than a 10% reduction in tumor volume were found to be significantly more likely to have lower baseline levels of soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1 and thrombospondin-2. Sarcoma is a malignant tumor of connective or other non-epithelial tissue.

In another phase 1b trial where patients suffering from advanced kidney cancer were treated with a combination therapy of TRC105 and Pfizer Inc.'s Inlyta, patients with a partial response were found to be more likely to have lower levels of soluble osteopontin and higher levels of soluble transforming growth factor-ß receptor III. These biomarkers will be assessed as part of the ongoing phase 2 TRAXAR trial of the combination therapy in patients with renal cell carcinoma, the company said.

The clinical stage biopharmaceutical company also relayed observations reported by National Cancer Institute, or NCI, for a trial of the combination therapy of TRC105 with Merck & Co. Inc.'s Temodar in patients with refractory solid tumors. Based on partial responses in patients with KRAS-positive colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, the NCI decided to enroll expansion cohorts in each of these tumor types at the recommended phase 2 oral dose of TRC102. The trial authors concluded that the combination of Temodar and TRC102 is active and that there was evidence of DNA damage following treatment.

A combination of TRC105 and Genentech USA, Inc.'s Avastin to treat patients with recurrent glioblastoma failed a phase 2 trial in February.