Pharmaceutical firm Neovia Oncology has begun enrolment for its Phase I clinical trial of NEV-801 to enhance immunotherapy in patients with advanced drug-resistant cancers.

NEV-801 is a conjugated multi-inhibitor, formulated to inhibit Topoisomerase I and Topoisomerase II activity, HIF-1 transcriptional activation, and hypoxic induction of VEGF mRNA.

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The drug is also claimed to inhibit protein expression, targeting a RecQ helicase Werner syndrome protein (WRN), resulting in elimination of MDR gene-mediated resistance.

The simultaneous inhibition of multiple cancer pathways is expected to trigger the distressed tumours, leading to target antigens expression and improvement in the efficacy of immunotherapy.

Neovia Oncology chief operational officer Gerald Su said: "Patient enrolment marks the formal beginning of a clinical trial and so we are excited to get underway after much preparation and hard work by our team.

"This is the first programme to have advanced through Neovia's innovative development pipeline that includes more than 60 potential drugs."

"This is the first programme to have advanced through Neovia's innovative development pipeline that includes more than 60 potential drugs.

"It represents a milestone in the transition of Neovia to clinical-stage and validates us to potential investors and partners who can now help us grow and provide more potential therapies to cancer patients."

The firm intends to initially conduct the trial in the US at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston and Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Nashville, with plans to extend the study to China.

The result from the pre-clinical proof-of-concept studies conducted in China and America demonstrated curative effects of NEV-801 to treat chronic myeloid leukaemia and advanced colon cancer.

The studies did not find any occurrence of bone-marrow toxicity or gastro-intestinal side effects.