Tasquinimod is a once-daily, oral immunomodulatory compound that reduces a tumor’s ability to grow and spread. Tasquinimod is in development for treatment of multiple myeloma, a rare form of blood cancer with a high medical need. Patents in key markets have been granted, providing protection for the use of tasquinimod in malignant blood disorders, specifically acute forms of leukemia and multiple myeloma, until 2035. Furthermore, the FDA has granted orphan drug designation for tasquinimod for the treatment of multiple myeloma, which provides for seven years of market exclusivity in the event of future registration.
Tasquinimod shows compelling data in experimental models of multiple myeloma and a phase 1b/2a clinical trial to study safety and preliminary efficacy in patients with multiple myeloma will be initiated in Q2-2020 and is projected to enroll the first patient in Q3-2020.
Tasquinimod targets the tumor microenvironment in multiple myeloma
The immunosuppressed tumor microenvironment is essential for development of multiple myeloma in the bone marrow. Tasquinimod targets suppressive immune cells in the tumor microenvironment, specifically immunosuppressive myeloid cells, and thereby unlocks the body’s immune system to attack the cancer cells. With this novel mode of action tasquinimod has the potential, as a single therapy and in combination with other medicines, to overcome resistance and increase survival in patients that have progressed on standard therapy.
Tasquinimod has previously been in development for the treatment of prostate cancer with completed phase 1-3 clinical trials. While the results from the phase 3 trial in prostate cancer showed that tasquinimod prolonged progression free survival compared to placebo. Tasquinimod did not extend overall survival in this patient population and development for prostate cancer was discontinued. The clinical development of tasquinimod is today focused on the blood cancer multiple myeloma.
Tasquinimod has been studied in both healthy subjects and cancer patients. Clinical effects and an overall good tolerability have been demonstrated through more than 650 person-years of exposure to tasquinimod.