Quadra Logic Technologies Inc. has received approval from theCanadian Health Protection Branch to begin Phase I trials of itsbenzoporphyrin derivative (BPD) as a light-activated treatmentfor malignant skin lesions.
BPD's porphyrin-derived molecules tend to accumulate intumorous, psoriatic and virally infected cells. When illuminatedwith a laser, BPD breaks oxygen molecules into singlet oxygenthat kills the cells. Preliminary results from a Phase I trial atMassachusetts General Hospital are encouraging, and patientshave not experienced adverse reactions, said Dr. Harvey Lui, aresearcher at the hospital.
The Vancouver, British Columbia, company expects BPDrevenues to equal or exceed the $100 million to $400 million itanticipates from sales of Photofrin, its first-generationphotodynamic drug for treatment of lung, bladder andesophageal cancer, said spokesman David Main.
"We will file a new drug application for Photofrin in the UnitedStates later this year, and we expect to market in the U.S. intwo years," Main told BioWorld. He predicted the drug willreceive marketing approval in Europe and Canada in 12 to 24months.
Unlike Photofrin, which takes four to six weeks to clear fromthe body sufficiently to eliminate a photosensitive reaction ofthe skin that causes redness and swelling when exposed tosunlight, Quadra Logic's second-generation drugs are cleared in48 to 72 hours, Main said.
For this reason, Photofrin would be used only for life-threatening conditions. BPD, currently administeredintravenously, will be tested in new formulations, such astopical or oral preparations, for non-life threatening indicationssuch as severe psoriasis and venereal warts, Main said.
BPD can be activated by longer wavelengths of laser light sothat it penetrates tissues better and can be used to treat largertumors or areas of psoriasis, Main said. It accumulates intargeted cells in three hours, compared with 48 hours forPhotofrin, making outpatient treatment possible, he said.
The stock (NASDQA:QLTIF) closed unchanged at $6.88. --Kris Herbst
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