Momenta Pharma receives orphan drug status for novel pancreatic cancer drug
- Momenta Pharmaceuticals has received orphan drug status for its oncology drug candidate, necuparanib, for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
- Necuparanib is a heparin sulfate mimetic which has been shown to have anti-tumor activity.
- The drug is currently in Phase I/II, dose-escalation trials.
Necuparanib represents a novel treatment option for pancreatic cancer. The use of heparin for the treatment of cancer was discovered fortuitously when clinicians noted the anti-tumor effect of the medicine. The challenge was dealing with heparin's anticoagulation effect. Necuparanib has been engineered to decrease anticoagulant activity while retaining anti-tumor properties.
Currently, phase I/II trails are evaluating necuparanib in combination with Abraxane (nab-paclitaxel) and gemcitabane in patients with advanced metastatic pancreatic cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 46,000 people in the US will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2014. This figure clearly exceeds the 20,000-person cut-off point for orphan drug status, but there is still a serious unmet need for effective medical treatments for pancreatic cancer, so orphan drug status is justifiable. The five-year survival rate for pancreatic cancer is only 6.7%.
- Pharmaceutical Business Review Momenta secures FDA orphan drug status for Necuparanib to treat pancreatic cancer