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Wilex & Fox Chase Cancer Center begin trial w/ novel compound targeting tumor invasion & metastasis

Wilex AG, Munich, Germany, and Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pa., announced today the start of a clinical trial with a novel compound, WX-UK1, targeting tumor cell invasion and metastasis. This Phase I trial marks the start of an innovative collaboration between the U.S. government, an academic research center (Fox Chase) and a biotech firm (Wilex) to rapidly move a laboratory discovery to the clinic for use in patients.

This is the first of two clinical trials with Wilex's compound WX-UK1 at Fox Chase funded by a US$ 3.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Breast Cancer Research Program to study the potential of this agent as a breast cancer therapeutic in the USA.

WX-UK1 is a non-cytotoxic small molecule that belongs to a new class of drugs. In animal models, WX-UK1 blocks tumor cell invasion, metastasis and primary tumor growth by inhibiting the urokinase Plasminogen Activator (uPA) system.

"The pre-clinical research with WX-UK1 provided strong data warranting a clinical trial to pursue the possible benefit this drug may have in the treatment of breast cancer," said Lori J. Goldstein, M.D., principal investigator of this study and director of Fox Chase's Breast Evaluation Center and leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program at Fox Chase. "The DOD-Wilex-Fox Chase collaboration is an example of how government, private industry, and academia can work together to bring promising research from the laboratory to the clinic quicker than traditional avenues."

"Unlike conventional chemotherapeutic agents, WX-UK1 is focused on a biological target directly connected to cancer progression, and, therefore offers an entirely new mechanism of action," said Prof. Olaf G. Wilhelm, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Wilex. "It is our goal to develop WX-UK1 for use in combination with chemotherapy. With Fox Chase Cancer Center, we have a highly experienced and capable partner for the clinical development of WX-UK1 in the USA".


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Contact: Karen C. Mallet
k_carter@fccc.edu
215-728-2700
Fox Chase Cancer Center
25-May-2004


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