Lyon’s Erytech (France) is a clinical biopharma working on improving its red blood cell transported drug, targeting cancers such as acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Now phase I/II trials for its GRASPA therapy have demonstrated good efficacy and safety.
Circulating asparagine is needed by cancer cells to grow and proliferate. Erytech’s platform uses a different approach – insertion of an oncology drug (the enzyme L-asparaginase) in red blood cells, which circulates and delivers the drug, and therefore reduces serum asparagine. This starves cancer cells and induces them to undergo apoptosis.
Erytech has applied for EU market approval for their ERY-ASP (‘Graspa’) drug to treat ALL in up to 38 countries. Now, Graspa is also undergoing phase II trials for elderly patients (i.e. >55 years old) with a similar type of leukemia, as well as a phase II study for its treatment of metastatic pancreatic adinocarcinoma. Both phase I trials showed excellent tolerability of the drug.