Pharma Focus Asia

Ivy Brain Tumor Center and Vivace Therapeutics Collaborate to Test Targeted Agent in Glioblastoma and Meningioma

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Ivy Brain Tumor Center at Barrow Neurological Institute announced a new collaboration with Vivace Therapeutics. The Ivy Brain Tumor Center, which employs a bold, early-phase clinical trials strategy, will evaluate Vivace's novel development compound, VT-01, as an experimental therapy in two aggressive forms of brain cancer – glioblastoma and meningioma.

Vivace's compound is a first-in-class TEAD palmitoylation inhibitor that targets hyperactivation of hippo pathway-controlled genes and aligns with the Ivy Center's model of testing novel targeted agents preclinically and in a Phase 0 setting.

"Hippo pathway is often deregulated in many cancers including gliomas and meningioma and often a source of therapy resistance," said Shwetal Mehta, Ph.D., deputy director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center. "This gives us hope that we may be able to add VT-01 to our armamentarium of drugs to target aggressive brain tumors."

The collaboration will begin with preclinical studies to evaluate the drug's ability to penetrate the brain and modulate its target – the hippo pathway. If the detailed pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic analyses show promise, the drug compound may then be pursued within the Ivy Center's Phase 0 clinical trial portfolio. This unconventional trialing method enables researchers to understand if the experimental therapy is impacting an individual patient's brain tumor in as little as seven days.

"When a patient is diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor such as glioblastoma, the clock starts ticking. They don't have the luxury of waiting months to learn from MR imaging if a new therapy is working for them. Industry partnerships with companies like Vivace allow us to rapidly escalate drugs that show promise in brain tumor patients and de-escalate the ones that do not," said Nader Sanai, M.D., director of the Ivy Brain Tumor Center.

"As Vivace's first development compound approaches IND filing, it is a high priority to explore which additional tumor types might be sensitive to this novel mechanism," said Sofie Qiao, Ph.D., president and CEO of Vivace Therapeutics. "We are very pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Nader Sanai and his colleagues at the Ivy Brain Tumor Center to test for possible applications of the compound in brain tumors."

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