Soricimed Biopharma, a private clinical stage company, has started the treatment of their first patient in a Phase I clinical trial of anti-cancer agent SOR-C13, at the Juravinski Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

The multicentre, open-label study, which will take place at cancer centres in both Canada and the US, is designed to assess safety and tolerability of SOR-C13 in patients with advanced cancer tumours, with a focus on ovarian cancers.

"Unlike chemotherapy, the cancer treatment is highly targeted, affecting only cancer cells."

The dose escalation study will also assess pharmacokinetics, biomarkers and initial evidence for efficacy.

Soricimed Biopharma chairman and chief scientific officer Jack Stewart said that unlike chemotherapy, the company’s cancer treatment is highly targeted, affecting only cancer cells.

"Healthy cells are not affected. It’s also a biologic, meaning it’s derived from a naturally occurring peptide that when broken down produces amino acids that can be reused by the body," Stewart said.

"As a result, and this is key, there have been virtually no side effects demonstrated in our pre-clinical studies."

The company expects to carry out Phase I trials till February 2013 and to release interim results later in 2012. If results are successful, further clinical trials will follow.

SOR-C13 works by inhibiting a non-voltage gated calcium channel found in epithelial cancers such as ovarian, breast and prostate.

Pre-clinical studies demonstrated that SOR-C13 induces apoptosis (cell death), inhibits cell proliferation and reduces tumour volume while minimising side effects associated with typical chemotherapy.