Swedish biotech company Axelar has announced the commencement of its AXL1717 investigator-sponsored Phase I/II study in patients with brain tumours in the US.

The study is designed to assess the investigational drug in patients with relapsed or progressive malignant astrocytomas (glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma).

AXL1717 is an oral small molecule insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptor pathway inhibitor.

Since majority of tumour cells rely on the IGF-1 receptor signal pathway, the IGF-1 receptor inhibitor drugs could act as potential cancer therapeutics.

Axelar CEO Dr Carl Harald Janson said; “Preclinical data supports treatment with AXL1717 in patients with astrocytomas and we now look forward to follow this important clinical study, since treatment for astrocytomas remains very challenging and new advances are necessary to improve clinical outcome.”

The Rush University Medical Center in Chicago is conducting the Phase I/II study, which is supported by Voices Against Brain Cancer and Gateway for Cancer Research.

At present, Axelar is also conducting AXL1717 Phase II trials in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, while the tolerability profile of the investigational compound was established in a Phase I/II trial conducted in 49 patients.