Herantis Pharma’s clinical study with Lymfactin advances to high dose level
Herantis Pharma Plc
Company release 6 March 2017 at 10:00 am
Herantis Pharma Plc’s (“Herantis”) clinical study with the company’s innovative gene therapy investigational product Lymfactin® for the treatment of secondary lymphedema has advanced to highest planned dose level owing to good reported safety. A Data Monitoring Committee of independent experts recommended proceeding to high dose treatments after assessing safety data on the previously treated patients. Following the recommendation, the first high dose treatment has already been administered.
“We are naturally very happy for the safety of Lymfactin® in the first treatments”, comments Pekka Simula, Herantis’ CEO. “This is the first clinical study in the world to apply gene therapy for repairing damages of the lymphatic system. Safety of the patients is our #1 priority so we want to move ahead carefully. We are thrilled to announce this milestone by coincidence on March 6: World Lymphedema Day!”
“Collaboration with the participating university hospitals in this study has been excellent”, adds Katarina Jääskeläinen, Herantis’ Project Manager for the clinical study. “Secondary lymphedema is a disfiguring, disabling disease that severely impacts the quality of life of patients. We hope our Lymfactin® will significantly improve the quality of life of patients in the future.”
The Phase 1 clinical study continues recruiting patients with breast cancer associated lymphedema at three university hospitals in Finland: In Helsinki, Tampere, and Turku. The study intends to recruit at most 18 patients by the end of 2017.
World Lymphedema Day
March 6 was officially recognized World Lymphedema Day since 2015 by e.g. the U.S. Senate. It is celebrated around the world largely thanks to the patient advocacy group Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) to increase lymphedema awareness.
About breast-cancer associated lymphedema
Approximately 20% of breast cancer patients who undergo axillary lymph node dissection develop secondary lymphedema, a chronic, progressive, disabling and disfiguring disease that severely affects quality of life. Symptoms include a chronic swelling of an upper limb, thickening and hardening of skin, loss of mobility and flexibility, pain, and susceptibility to secondary infections. Secondary lymphedema is currently treated with compression garments, special massage, and exercises. While these therapies may relief the symptoms in some patients they do not cure lymphedema, which is caused by damage to the lymphatic system. There are currently no approved medicines for the treatment of this condition.
Lymfactin® is a gene therapy expressing the growth factor VEGF-C specific to the development of lymphatic vessels. Based on preclinical studies Lymfactin® triggers the growth of new functional lymphatic vasculature in the damaged area and thus repairs the underlying cause of secondary lymphedema. Lymfactin®, patented by Herantis, is based on the internationally renowned scientific research of academy professor Kari Alitalo and his research group, a national centre of excellence at the University of Helsinki. Herantis also holds patents for a combination therapy, which may expand the use of Lymfactin® in other lymphedemas. See our introductory video on Lymfactin®: http://herantis.com/media/videos/
About Herantis Pharma Plc
Herantis Pharma Plc is an innovative drug development company focused on regenerative medicine and unmet clinical needs. Our first-in-class assets are based on globally leading scientific research in their fields: CDNF for disease modification in neurodegenerative diseases, primarily Parkinson’s and ALS; and Lymfactin® for breast cancer associated lymphedema, with potential also in primary lymphedema. The shares of Herantis are listed on the First North Finland marketplace run by Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd.