PharmaCyte Biotech Nearing Major Milestone—An Open IND with the FDA
NEW YORK, NY, Feb. 04, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clinical stage biotechnology company PharmaCyte Biotech (OTCQB: PMCB) is now closer than ever to reaching what would be a monumental milestone in the company’s history. Years of patience from PharmaCyte’s shareholders has now likely been whittled down to what should now be just months, and with the condensed timeline, the company is this close to what will be a landmark event—an “open” or approved Investigational New Drug application (IND) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its development of a treatment for patients with locally advanced, non-metastatic, inoperable pancreatic cancer (LAPC).
PharmaCyte is a California-based biotechnology company focused on developing targeted treatments for cancer and diabetes using its signature live-cell encapsulation technology, Cell-in-a-Box®. When the company recently announced that it had successfully encapsulated the live cells used in its therapy for patients with locally advanced, non-metastatic, inoperable pancreatic cancer (LAPC), and that those cells are now growing and dividing inside the Cell-in-a-Box® capsules, the news seemed to suggest that all of the pieces necessary to complete and submit the long overdue IND application to the FDA are falling into place for the company’s upcoming clinical trial in the treatment of LAPC.
After enduring what has been a lengthy and time-consuming checklist of FDA-required tests, reports, documents and meetings, PharmaCyte’s shareholders should take comfort in knowing that the list of items they’re waiting on has now been trimmed to (1) the encapsulated live cells fully filling the Cell-in-a-Box® capsules, (2) the fully-filled capsules being placed into syringes and frozen, (3) FDA-required testing of the capsules, and finally (4) the writing of the reports and submission of the IND application to the FDA.
Currently, PharmaCyte’s submission of an IND application is what has its shareholder’s attention, but it is what an FDA approval of that application would mean for PharmaCyte that will soon garner the most attention. Once the FDA has approved the company’s IND application for Cell-in-a-Box® + low doses of ifosfamide to treat LAPC, the FDA’s approval will officially permit PharmaCyte to open clinical activities throughout the country.
After speaking with PharmaCyte’s Chief Operating Officer, Gerald W. Crabtree, we learned that an open IND is key to PharmaCyte realizing a number of benefits that include:
-- PharmaCyte can begin the formal arrangements required to conduct its clinical trial in LAPC. -- PharmaCyte can begin working towards the major milestone of enrolling the first patient in its clinical trial. -- PharmaCyte can publish that the technology behind its LAPC treatment has passed the incredibly difficult FDA screening process and met all of the FDA’s regulatory requirements. -- An open IND gives PharmaCyte credibility in terms of delivering on an FDA clinical trial and persevering through a number of setbacks and delays. -- Having an open IND with the FDA will offer global exposure of PharmaCyte’s Cell-in-a-Box® technology. -- PharmaCyte could begin to credibly seek a joint venture/partner in developing its therapy for LAPC if it should choose to go that route. -- And because the therapy is the same, it would also allow PharmaCyte to credibly pitch the Cell-in-a-Box® technology to joint venture/partners to develop its therapy for malignant ascites fluid. -- PharmaCyte could also credibly pitch the Cell-in-a-Box® technology to joint venture/partners to develop its therapy to treat cancer using the constituents of the Cannabis plant (cannabinoids). -- An open IND also signals that many of the major hurdles PharmaCyte faced to get the FDA to approve the initiation of a clinical trial using its unique encapsulation material will not have to be replicated again—meaning that the FDA’s list of extensive requirements related to the capsules that contain live cells for the treatment of diseases will have been met—paving the way for the development of treatments for diabetes and a host of solid tumors.
The upcoming trial will be PharmaCyte’s first-ever clinical trial, and the company’s novel and complex therapy will address what world-renowned oncologist, Dr. Manuel Hidalgo, the trial’s Principal Investigator, says is a therapy to treat “an unmet medical need where there is no effective therapy after the first-line therapy no longer provides any further benefit to a patient.”
Should PharmaCyte’s IND submission receive approval from the FDA, the clinical trial may proceed 30 calendar days from the submission date of the IND. And the good news for investors is as Dr. Hidalgo says, “If the results are very positive, these results may pave the way for an accelerated approval process through one or more avenues afforded by the FDA.”
About PharmaCyte Biotech
PharmaCyte Biotech is a biotechnology company developing cellular therapies for cancer and diabetes based upon a proprietary cellulose-based live cell encapsulation technology known as “Cell-in-a-Box®.” This technology will be used as a platform upon which therapies for several types of cancer and diabetes are being developed.
PharmaCyte’s therapy for cancer involves encapsulating genetically engineered human cells that convert an inactive chemotherapy drug into its active or “cancer-killing” form. For pancreatic cancer, these encapsulated cells are implanted in the blood supply to the patient’s tumor as close as possible to the site of the tumor. Once implanted, a chemotherapy drug that is normally activated in the liver (ifosfamide) is given intravenously at one-third the normal dose. The ifosfamide is carried by the circulatory system to where the encapsulated cells have been implanted. When the ifosfamide flows through pores in the capsules, the live cells inside act as a “bio-artificial liver” and activate the chemotherapy drug at the site of the cancer. This “targeted chemotherapy” has proven effective and safe to use in past clinical trials and results in no treatment related side effects.
PharmaCyte’s therapy for Type 1 diabetes and insulin-dependent Type 2 diabetes involves encapsulating a human cell line that has been genetically engineered to produce, store and release insulin in response to the levels of blood sugar in the human body. The cell lines being studied are human liver cells, stem cells and beta islet cells. The encapsulation will be done using the Cell-in-a-Box® technology. Once the encapsulated cells are implanted in a diabetic patient, they are designed to function as a “bio-artificial pancreas” for purposes of insulin production.
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