Preclinical effort will examine effect of lasofoxifene on unique endometrial cancer models carrying ESR1 mutations
COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 21, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sermonix Pharmaceuticals Inc., a privately held biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapeutics to treat ESR1-mutated metastatic breast and gynecological cancers, today announced a preclinical collaboration with researcher Jay Gertz, Ph.D., to examine the potential effects of lasofoxifene, Sermonix’s lead investigational drug, on endometrial cancer.
The project will investigate the effects of lasofoxifene on unique models of endometrial cancer that carry ESR1 mutations. Lasofoxifene has shown novel activity in ESR1 mutations, and Sermonix is currently enrolling patients in two Phase 2 Evaluation of Lasofoxifene in ESR1 Mutations (ELAINE) studies within the breast cancer arena.
“Sermonix is committed to exploring ESR1 mutations across gynecological tumor types and examining lasofoxifene’s potential to serve the unmet medical needs of more women fighting cancer,” said Barry Komm, Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Sermonix. “The unique ESR1 model system is state-of-the-art for this exploration and Dr. Gertz is an esteemed partner with whom it is an honor for Sermonix to collaborate.”
Dr. Gertz is a cancer researcher at Huntsman Cancer Institute and associate professor of oncological sciences at the University of Utah. His lab studies how transcription regulation is altered in cancer with a particular focus on the roles of steroid hormone signaling in endometrial and breast cancers.
“The Gertz Lab has a major emphasis in advancing the study of new drugs for endometrial cancer, an aggressive disease with limited treatment options,” said Dr. Gertz. “We look forward to learning more about the efficacy of lasofoxifene in the context of ESR1-mutated endometrial cancer.”
Lasofoxifene is an investigational, nonsteroidal selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), which Sermonix licensed globally from Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: LGND) and has been studied in previous comprehensive Phase 1-3 non-oncology clinical trials in more than 15,000 postmenopausal women worldwide. Lasofoxifene’s bioavailability and activity in mutations of the estrogen receptor could potentially hold promise for patients who have acquired endocrine resistance due to ESR1 mutations, a common finding in the metastatic setting and an area of high unmet medical need. Lasofoxifene’s novel activity in ESR1 mutations was discovered at Duke University and Sermonix has exclusive rights to develop and commercialize the product in this area. Lasofoxifene, a potent, oral SERM could, if approved, play a critical role in the targeted precision medicine treatment of advanced ER+ breast cancer.
Sermonix Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of female-specific oncology products and is currently undertaking two Phase 2 clinical studies of lasofoxifene, its lead investigational drug. Sermonix Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2014 by David Portman, M.D., a leading clinical researcher and expert in women’s health, menopause and selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM) therapy. The Sermonix management team, led by Dr. Portman, has significant experience in all stages of the drug development and regulatory process. Paul Plourde, M.D., vice president of oncology clinical development, has many decades of experience in the oncology drug development arena. Barry Komm, Ph.D., chief scientific officer, is recognized for his expertise in SERM biology. Miriam Portman, M.D., is chief operating officer. Elizabeth Attias, M.M.Sc., Sc.D., chief strategy and development officer, has extensive experience in pharmaceutical drug commercialization. Simon Jenkins, Ph.D. vice president of operations, has over 30 years of experience in global drug development leadership. Sermonix non-executive chairman of the board is Anthony Wild, Ph.D., former president of both Parke-Davis Pharmaceuticals and Warner-Lambert’s Pharmaceutical Division. Learn more at https://sermonixpharma.com/.
David Portman, MD
CEO and Founder, Sermonix Pharmaceuticals