If there is one disease that has plagued our country and people across the globe, it would be cancer. Perhaps there is not a more tragic situation than when a child is stricken down with the deadly disease. One company is trying to make headway into Pediatric Cancer. That company is Hana Biosciences.
The San Francisco based Hana Biosciences is a biopharmaceutical company that has dedicated their resources and time to developing and commercializing new and differentiated cancer therapies with a plan to improve and enable standards of care amongst cancer patients. Hana took a major step towards achieving this goal with the announcement that they have entered into a Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA) with the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute for the co-development of Marquibo which is a vincristine sulfate liposomes injection in refractory pediatric cancer.
The CTA will occur over five-years which will initially focus on a Phase I trial to evaluate the safety and optimal dose of weekly Marquibo in children and adolescents with refractory cancer. This will be followed by a Phase 2 trial in pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) which is the most common carrier of childhood cancer. Hana anticipates that the Phase 2 trial will facilitate subsequent studies of Marquibo in combination with standard chemotherapy regimens with the hope that this will lead to improvements in childhood cancer in the future.
Hana Biosciences is led by Steven R. Deitcher M.D. who serves as President and CEO of the company and Anne Hagey M.D. who is the Chief Medical Officer. Deitcher is a renowned name in his field and has published more than 185 journal papers, abstracts and book chapters and has made more than 35 scientific conference presentations. He was the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Current Hematology Reports while Hagey has held a multitude of positions at Abbot Laboratories prior to joining Hana.
When asked about the impact of the Clinical Trial, Dr. Deitcher was quoted as saying, “This agreement expands the clinical development programs for Marqibo and will complement our pivotal Phase 2 rally clinical trial evaluating Marqibo for the treatment of adults with ALL in second relapse. Our combined effort with the NCI will further increase our understanding of Marqibo’s unique activity and ability to supplant standard vincristine in children as well as adults.”
Dr. Hagey added, “Our agreement with the NCI signifies the importance of vinca alkaloids like vincristine in the treatment of pediatric ALL and solid tumors like Wilm’s tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, and neuroblastoma. The ability to enhance the dosing, tumor penetration, and pharmacokinetic profile of vincristine by the Marqibo formulation has the potential to improve outcomes in children with cancer, a typically underserved area of drug development.”
Currently, Hana Biosciences is trading in the $0.57 range. With this new endeavor and a possibility to make advancements in Pediatric Cancer, Hana may become the over-the-counter gem that all investors dream about.
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