James Dentzer and Robert Martell, Curis’ CEO and head of R&D, discuss the company’s programs, upcoming data, financing and more.
Curis’ (NASDAQ:CRIS) CEO James Dentzer said 2019 will be the year of multiple data readouts for all three of its drug candidates in the clinic.
Dentzer told the Investing News Network the company will present the data at a medical conference, if it’s convenient. Otherwise a top-line data release will be Curis’ next option to share the news with investors. Later, investigators on the trial would follow up with more data at a medical conference.
The company’s three drugs in the clinic are fimepinostat, CA-107 and CA-4948. The first targets a gene called MYC, which Dentzer said which helps cancer cell grow, really fast. “We knock that down, both gene and protein to keep the cancer under control,” he noted. Fimepinostat has US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fast track designation.
The second program, CA-107, targets the checkpoint VISTA.“It’s an intersection point between your immune system and a tumor,” Dentzer said. CA-107 has shown to block that interaction and maintain the immune system during the fight; that way, it can focus on attacking cancer cells and killing them, he said.
CA-4948, the third program in the clinic, is an IRAK4 target program, which Dentzer said no one else has done before. It targets a specific minizone in the body which could decrease B-cell proliferation, which can cause B-cell lymphomas, he said. This calendar year will be for “definitive efficacies or definitive data, to show these programs work in all three,” he said.
The goal for these programs would be both a mix of combination therapies and as stand-alones. Dentzer said cancers are likely best treated in the future in combination therapy with a “cocktail of drugs.”
Curis has a proven past of at least one successful drug with Erivedge, an FDA approved oral small molecule which inhibits the Hedgehog signalling pathway. This pathway is implicated in over 90 percent of basal cell carcinoma cases and is also found in medulloblastomas. From a collaboration partnership, Roche (OTCQX:RHHBY) and Genentech have developed and commercialized the drug.
The drug brought in US$250 million last year for Roche and Genentech and US$10 million for Curis, Dentzer said. The drug’s revenue has increased about 20 percent per year, he added.
While this is one way to generate cash for Curis, the company also raises money through equity and business development deals.
For manufacturing, Robert Martell, head of research and development at Curis, said the company is on target with its “broader development efforts,” along with the “ultimate product” that will go on the market. The process is ongoing and is moving forward with all three of the company’s products. Dentzer added the manufacturing at Curis is much more simple compared to other biotech companies.
Dentzer said a big focus on attending JPM week in San Francisco is meeting with “potential partners.” This discussion is ongoing with the company, as partnering could be the right formula for Dentzer’s view of treating cancers with multiple cocktails.
However the company’s ultimate goal, Dentzer said, is to create a new blockbuster drug — meaning a drug with billion dollar revenue for a year.
Watch the interview above for more insight on Curis’ goals, including Dentzers drug programs, checkpoint inhibitors and treating cancer.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.