– 2018 pipeline expansion includes lead cannabinoid-based cancer therapeutic
– Clinical trial in glioblastoma to begin in 2019
VANCOUVER, British Columbia and SEATTLE, Dec. 20, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pascal Biosciences Inc. (TSX.V:PAS) (“Pascal” or the “Company”), a drug discovery and development company, today announced a year-end review of accomplishments during 2018 and insight into plans for 2019.
“Pascal today is a much different company from that of just a year ago. We have two promising cannabinoid therapeutic programs close to clinical evaluation, secured a Schedule I research license for cannabinoid research and have strengthened our leadership team to support our development efforts,” said Dr. Patrick Gray, CEO of Pascal. “We look forward to beginning clinical evaluation of our product ST-403 in glioblastoma and further advancing our promising cannabinoid research efforts in the coming year.”
Announced discovery that cannabis contains compounds capable of stimulating the immune system to destroy tumor cells. While cannabinoids have long been known to be helpful in treating cancer symptoms like nausea and pain, Pascal was the first to identify a mechanism in which cannabinoids may provide a direct benefit in immunotherapy. We believe certain cannabinoids may activate the immune system to destroy cancer cells and hopefully improve the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors, the most exciting class of new therapeutics. Pascal is planning to test select compounds in volunteers and patients.
Received a US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Schedule I Research license to enable cannabinoid research work. Very few research organizations obtain a Schedule I license and most are universities. Obtaining the license is a very rigorous process and enables Pascal to conduct research on cannabinoids, to develop a cannabinoid product, and to conduct clinical trials on cancer patients.
In October Pascal licensed a cannabinoid-based product for the treatment of glioblastoma and brain metastases. Glioblastoma is a devastating disease that strikes 15,000 patients each year in North America, and the median survival rate is only 12 to 17 months. Our compound is very effective in a mouse model of glioblastoma, and Pascal plans to begin human clinical studies in 2019. This program is the culmination of 20 years of effort by renowned cannabis researcher Dr. Nephi Stella, founder and co-director of the University of Washington Center for Cannabis Research. Dr. Stella is now a consultant for Pascal, and he has been very helpful with both of Pascal’s cannabinoid programs.
Additions to Board and Management Team:
Julie Eastland was appointed to the Pascal Board of Directors this summer. Julie is an accomplished financial executive, with more than 25 years of experience in public and private biotechnology companies. Most recently she was Chief Business Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Cascadian Therapeutics, where she negotiated and managed their acquisition by Seattle Genetics, in a deal valued at $810M. Julie has the financial and corporate development experience that Pascal needs going forward.
Pascal strengthened its leadership team with the appointments of accomplished executives in therapeutic and business development. This includes Kevin Egan, Vice President of Business Development. He has been in biotech for over 30 years and has a proven track record of negotiating partnering, licensing, and outsourcing deals. Dr. Tom Deckwerth, Vice President of Therapeutic Development, has 20 years of industrial experience in therapeutic development. And Dr. Larry Tjoelker, Vice President of Research, has over 25 years of research experience in the biotechnology industry.
“The extensive experience of Julie, Kevin, Tom, and Larry will be invaluable as we advance our leading cannabinoid-based programs and explore strategic opportunities,” said Gray.
Looking ahead to 2019
Pascal is targeting to initiate clinical trials of ST-403 in glioblastoma next year. Manufacturing efforts have already begun, and formulation, safety studies, and clinical studies are all being planned with a strict timeline.
Second, Pascal has put much effort into its immune-stimulatory cannabinoid program in collaboration with our founder Dr. Wilf Jefferies at the University of British Columbia. This work will be published in peer-reviewed scientific articles, and you will hear a lot more about this program going forward, including plans for studies in human volunteers and patients.
“The world of drug development is exciting and promising, but it is also costly and time consuming. Along with the risk, there is great value in a successful product that provides benefit to patients,” said Gray. “While we are at an early stage in this process, we have the faith and enthusiasm that we will be successful. And we are driven by the knowledge that patients need a cure. Patients and their families contact us to ask when they can be tested—this is the reason we come to work each day, and this is the reason we are driven to make our products available as quickly as possible.”
About Pascal Biosciences Inc.
Pascal Biosciences is a biotechnology company focused on advancing innovative approaches for the treatment of cancer including cannabinoid-based therapeutics and targeted therapies. The company’s leading cannabinoid portfolio comprises a small molecule therapeutic, ST-403, that is advancing into clinical trials for the treatment of glioblastoma, and an immuno-stimulatory molecule. In addition, Pascal Biosciences is developing a B-cell targeted antibody for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and an antibody for calcium channels expressed by the immune system. For more information, visit www.pascalbiosciences.com.
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