Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

One of the late-breaking abstracts (not yet published) that I am looking forward to at the forthcoming annual Congress of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO 2012) in Vienna is on ODM-201 (Orion Pharma):

LBA25-PR:  ARADES trial: A first-in-man, open-label, phase I/II safety, pharmacokinetic, and proof-of-concept study of ODM-201 in patients (pts) with progressive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC)

ODM-201 is a new antiandrogen from Finnish company, Orion Pharma, and is being developed in partnership with Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENDP).

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Orion Pharma LogoIn a corporate presentation, Orion Pharma describe ODM-201 as:

  • Potentially best-in-class antiandrogen
  • Does not enter brain in preclinical models
  • No testosterone increase in animal models
  • Well tolerated

“We are studying and developing an anti-androgen with qualities that currently cannot be found in any of our or our competitors’ drugs”

says Mika Mustonen (@MikaMustonen), Head of Oncology, Research and Development at Orion in an article, “Pursuing a targeted drug for prostate cancer” published by the company. Mustonen says:

“The research on our new drug candidate, ODM-201, suggests that we may be able to provide patients with a new alternative for the treatment of prostate cancer.”

Of note, is Orion’s focus on biomarkers, which may help predict which patients are more likely to respond to the therapy. According to Mustonen:

“Biomarkers increase the chance of success.  By following them we can study topics that have not been considered before in this type of research.  We can predict different phases of the disease, survey any safety risks associated with the drug and find out what kind of patients benefit most from the drug.”

At ESMO 2012 (Twitter hashtag #ESMO12) I expect we will hear preliminary data from the ARADES 3104001 phase 1 dose escalation study (NCT01317641) with ODM-201.

According to this multicenter, non-randomized clinical trial is being undertaken at sites in Finland, Czech Republic, France, United Kingdom and the United States.

After 12 weeks in the phase 1 dose escalation study, patients with stable disease can continue treatment in a phase 2 extension study on the safety and tolerability of ODM-201 (NCT01429064).

As of May 2012, Orion Pharma reported that the ARADES 3104001 phase II expansion component had 105 patients enrolled, with 3 dose levels to be expanded.

Company senior management have told me they “are very excited about the ODM-201 data,” to be presented at ESMO. I have not seen the data, but presume the results will be positive. After all, company executives don’t get excited about negative data!

Is there a market for a new antiandrogen?

Although Medivation are first to market with their androgen receptor (AR) inhibitor, enzalutamide/MDV3100 (Xtandi) that does not mean that other companies will not be able to make in-roads into the market with cheaper or more effective AR antagonists.

In a Pharma Strategy Blog interview with Sally Church, Dr Charles Sawyers noted that Aragon’s ARN-509 (another AR inhibitor in development) is “more potent” than enzalutamide and “might produce a higher percentage of responders or longer duration of response.”

Medivation recently announced that enzalatumide is available in the United States for patients with metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer previously treated with docetaxel.

At a price of $7,450 a month, however, Xtandi is considerably higher than Johnson & Johnson’s Zytiga.  This aggressive premium pricing strategy opens the door to competitors who may offer equally effective, but less expensive drugs.

The prostate cancer market remains a dynamic one and very much one to watch over the next few years.

I look forward to learning more about ODM-201 at ESMO 2012.

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6 Responses to “ESMO 2012: ODM-201 a new generation antiandrogen for advanced prostate cancer”

  1. David Miller

    It should be noted Medivation believes their licensing agreement with UCLA gives them 100% rights to ARN-509.

    • 3NT

      Thanks for the comment, David. If my post had been about ARN-509 and it’s potential then I would of course have “noted” the well known ongoing dispute between Aragon and Medivation as to the intellectual property rights to ARN-509.

      However, my reference to ARN-509 was merely to highlight the fact there are other androgen receptor antagonists in development, which may be more effective than enzalutamide.

      The thrust of my argument was that Medivation, while first to market, may not end up the “best” in class. Whether ARN-509 makes it to market remains to be seen notwithstanding their $42M Series C funding earlier this year.

  2. Frank

    ODM-201 is another antiandrogen in a long line of drugs originating from Flutamide. Enzalutamide is not first in its class. First was Flutamide then came Bicalutamide (Casodex) followed by Enzalutamide and now ODM-201.

    • 3NT

      Thanks Frank for your comment. You are right there are other antiandrogens, however enzalutamide is the first to be approved for advanced prostate cancer, which was the topic of my post.

    • Oceanlizhen

      ODM-201 had similar structure with Flutamine? Just another me better? Where could I find its structure

  3. biobetter

    I noticed that a requirement to enter the trials was the ability to swallow the drug. Do you know how many mgs are in the pill. The link I have to clinical trials shows most of the sites have yet to start recruiting but you were told they have 105 patients enrolled as of May–Orion slow to update or I’m looking in the wrong place?

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