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Astex and MMRC begin multiple myeloma study

Astex Therapeutics and the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium have begun a clinical trial into a therapy to treat patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma

UK biotech Astex Therapeutics, together with the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC), has begun a phase II clinical trial of the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, AT7519, to treat patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.

The trial will investigate AT7519 as a single agent and in combination with bortezomib (Millennium Pharma's Velcade). The trial will be conducted through MMRC Member Institution sites and others in the US.

The development of AT7519 has been supported by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) - an affiliate organisation of the MMRC - through its Biotech Investment Award (BIA) programme, which provided funding to rapidly test the pre-clinical activity of the compound in multiple myeloma, as well as move it forward into clinical trials.

"Continuing our relationship with Astex in the advancement of AT7519 confirms the effectiveness of our end-to-end drug development model, including identifying promising drug candidates, funding early research and injecting efficiency into the development process," said Kathy Giusti, founder and CEO of the MMRF and MMRC. "We collaborate with industry partners like Astex, so that promising new treatments can be brought to myeloma patients faster."

Two international phase I trials testing AT7519 in patients with solid tumours have already been conducted. The dosing schedule from one of these trials has been chosen for the trial in multiple myeloma patients.

Harren Jhoti, founder and CEO of Astex said: "The funding provided by the MMRF Biotech Investment Award, combined with the MMRC's commitment to quality and track record of speed allows us to conduct this trial of our proprietary CDK inhibitor as a potential new treatment for patients with multiple myeloma."

Susan Kelley, chief medical officer of the MMRC explained in a statement that: "multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease, with one of the lowest five-year survival rates of any cancer."

AT7519 is a novel small molecule multi-cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that induces apoptosis in multiple myeloma via GSK-3β activation and RNA polymerase II inhibition.

12th August 2010

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