Fluorinov Pharma, FACIT and OICR announce novel candidate drugs modulating NaV 1.8, NaV 1.7 sodium channels for the safer treatment of cancer pain and brain cancer-related epilepsy

Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust Logo (CNW Group/Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust)

TORONTO, April 24, 2014 /CNW/ - Fluorinov Pharma, an emerging Ontario-based drug development company, has developed three structurally distinct candidate drugs that selectively target pain-specific nerve sodium channels (Nav 1.8 and Nav 1.7), intended to treat cancer pain and brain cancer-related epilepsy, announced Malik Slassi, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer. The candidate drugs have shown an excellent preliminary safety profile, improved treatment of pain and epilepsy and are expected to have fewer sedative side effects compared to the current standard of treatment.

Fluorinov developed the drugs in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States with funding through the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). Existing pain drugs can have serious side effects including nausea, fatigue, dizziness and in some instances, risk of addiction. Recent scientific breakthroughs have identified pain-specific sodium ion channels that could be targeted by new drugs to avoid unwanted side effects on the central nervous system.

Fluorinov is currently working with the Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust (FACIT) to explore partnerships with investors and pharmaceutical companies and also pathways for clinical development.

"OICR and its partners are focused on translating important cancer discoveries from the laboratory bench to patients with cancer. Fluorinov's compound-centric drug discovery platform and proprietary breakthrough fluorine technology modulate validated targets ranging from cancer epigenetics to ion channels. This strategy unlocks the full therapeutic potential by optimizing the drug-like properties of innovative medicines" stated Dr. Tom Hudson, President and Scientific Director of OICR.

"The ion channel development program strived to identify novel drugs superior to gabapentin but without sedative side effects" remarked Dr. Slassi. These candidate compounds withstood attrition in rigorous in vivo preclinical efficacy and safety experiments.  As the mechanisms of action were unknown, it was gratifying for the team to see diverse and novel chemistry converge upon, and further validate these important targets for patients with cancer and pain."

About Fluorinov Pharma
For nearly half a century medicinal chemists have sought to incorporate the benefits of fluorine into a broader range of drug structures. In carefully defined conditions, fluorine can improve potency, stability and safety, and other critical drug attributes.  Innovative breakthroughs by Fluorinov Pharma enable fluorine chemical synthesis never before possible and have the potential to transform promising compounds into superior drugs. Integrating insights from validated, clinically active compounds, with the Fluorinov Discovery Platform, this strategy rapidly yields a rich pipeline of lower-risk NCEs with superior properties. Fluorinov has a deep portfolio of potential best-in-class drug candidates with attractive therapeutic profiles in oncology (multiple myeloma, pancreatic cancer and glioblastoma) and central nervous system (CNS) disorders and rare cancers. The Fluorinov team benefits from longstanding collaborations with and investments (financial and in-kind) by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, US National Institutes of Health, US National Cancer Institute, Ontario Brain Institute, National Research Council, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and other leading institutions (www.fluorinovpharma.com).

About FACIT
FACIT is an independent business trust established by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) to undertake development and commercialization activities related to cancer research, products and drug discovery. For more information, please visit the website at www.facit.ca or email info@facit.ca

About OICR
OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, supported by the Government of Ontario. OICR supports more than 1,600 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees located at its headquarters and in research institutes and academia across the Province of Ontario. OICR has key research efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing. For more information, please visit the website at www.oicr.on.ca.

SOURCE Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust

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For further information:

Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust
David O'Neill PhD
Vice-President, Business Development
david.oneill@facit.ca
Telephone: 647-260-7973
Mobile: 647-822-4128

Ontario Institute for Cancer Research 
Christopher Needles
Manager, Strategic Communications
Email: christopher.needles@oicr.on.ca
Telephone: 416-673-8505
Mobile: 416-319-5252
@OICR_news