Can-Fite BioPharma Ltd., a biotechnology company with a pipeline of proprietary small molecule drugs that address inflammatory and cancer diseases, announced today it has signed an agreement with Smart Assays to develop a commercial biomarker blood test kit for the A3 adenosine receptor (A3AR). Can-Fite’s A3AR predictive biomarker kit is designed for use at any molecular biology lab prior to treatment to help identify an individual patient’s responsiveness to the Company’s drugs, thus providing personalized medicine.
A3AR is present in high concentrations in inflammatory cells and cancer cells. Can-Fite’s proprietary drugs target and bind to A3AR, causing cancer and inflammatory cell apoptosis (programmed cell death). This creates a targeted anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effect, while leaving normal cells unharmed.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently issued Can-Fite a patent for the utilization of A3AR as a biomarker to predict patient response to its drug CF101 in autoimmune inflammatory indications. In December 2013, Can Fite reported favorable results from its Phase IIb rheumatoid arthritis clinical trial for CF101, an A3AR agonist. Only patients with elevated baseline expression levels of the biomarker A3AR were enrolled in the study. CF101 met all primary efficacy endpoints, showing statistically significant superiority over placebo in reducing signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
“In our Phase IIa rheumatoid arthritis study we found that 70% of patients had high A3AR baseline levels. These patients were the most responsive to our drug. By developing a biomarker test that can be used at any molecular lab, we offer doctors and their patients a simple method for determining which patients will benefit most from CF101. Because rheumatoid arthritis is a complex disease with a high degree of clinical heterogeneity, a personalized medicine approach is needed and CF101 coupled with a biomarker test is designed to meet this need,” stated Can-Fite CEO Dr. Pnina Fishman.
Smart Assays, led by Dr. Raphael Mayer, is a company that specializes in the design of biomarker assays for diagnosis, prediction and disease status follow up.