Irish pharmaceutical firm works on cancer-prevention drug

3 Nov 2011

Irish pharmaceutical company Solvotrin Therapeutics is developing a range of Aspirin prodrugs that could be used in the fight against cancer, following study results published in the Lancet medical journal.

A new study backs the role of Aspirin in the prevention of cancer and in particular, colorectal cancer.

These study results are consistent with the results of previous studies, where Aspirin was found to reduce the risk of death from several cancers, including breast cancer (by up to 70pc), and lung cancer (by up to 30pc).

“The CAPP2 clinical study clearly demonstrates that Aspirin can prevent cancer. However, the beneficial effects of Aspirin only became apparent following long-term use of at least three to four years and at high doses (600mg) of Aspirin,” said Pat O’Flynn, CEO of Solvotrin Therapeutics.

Dr John Gilmer and his team in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Trinity College Dublin discovered the range of Aspirin prodrugs Solvotrin Therapeutics is now developing.

“While traditional Aspirin can cause gastrointestinal damage, bleeding and ulcers, even at low doses, Solvotrin’s prodrugs do not cause injury to the stomach and intestines, and there is enormous potential for these drugs in the fight against cancer. New data on our lead prodrug, ST0702, have shown it to be more effective than Aspirin in cancer models,” O’Flynn said.

Dr Mark Ledwidge, VP of Solvotrin, has confirmed the company has completed its pre-clinical “proof of concept”.

“We have received strong interest from the pharmaceutical industry, as the Solvotrin drug’s strong performance in trials has clearly proven the value of the innovative platform technology,” Ledwidge said.

Solvotrin Therapeutics, which is privately held, has initiated a fundraising programme for the next stage of development of the Solvotrin patent-protected compounds, which will be taking the drug to human trials, O’Flynn said.

Solvotrin Therapeutics has offices in Cork and Dublin.

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