Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: KERX) is focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of medically important pharmaceutical products for the treatment of life-threatening diseases, including cancer and renal disease. Keryx is developing perifosine, a novel, potentially first-in-class, oral anti-cancer agent that inhibits key signal transduction pathways, which are associated with programmed cell death, cell growth, cell differentiation and cell survival. Perifosine is currently in Phase III clinical development for both refractory advanced colorectal cancer and multiple myeloma.
According to the results of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial, "perifosine in combination with Velcade and dexamethasone may be effective in multiple myeloma patients who previously relapsed from or were treatment-resistant to Velcade."
Dr. Philip McCarthy of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, who was not involved with the study, expressed his excitement about the results:
"This combination had activity with an overall response rate (complete response, near complete response, partial response, and minor response) of 41 percent which is quite reasonable and exciting in this heavily pretreated population."
The trial results were presented by Dr. Paul Richardson from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in December.
According to Dr. McCarthy, "perifosine was shown in laboratory studies to have activity against cell lines that were resistant to older anti-myeloma drugs such as melphalan (Alkeran), doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and dexamethasone (Decadron). He added that when perifosine is combined with anti-myeloma drugs such as Velcade (bortezomib), a synergistic anti-myeloma effect is seen."