Avacta’s drug targeting soft tissue sarcoma granted Orphan Drug Designation by FDA

Soft tissue sarcoma

A drug to treat soft tissue sarcoma has been granted Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Clinical stage oncology drug company Avacta Group plc has produced a form of the generic chemotherapy, doxorubicin AVA6000.

About Avacta’s drug

The drug has been modified using the company’s pre|CISION technology and Affirmer platform so it is activated predominantly in the tumor with the aim of sparing healthy tissue from exposure.  This, the company says, improves the safety, tolerability and efficacy of the drug.   

Doxorubicin has a market size that is expected to grow to $1.38 billion by 2024, and is widely used as part of the standard of care in several cancer types.

Avacta has an ongoing phase 1 clinical trial to assess the safety and pharmacokinetics of AVA6000, which has potential as a treatment for patients with a range of cancer types, including soft tissue sarcoma.

Preclinical data

The FDA can grant ODD based on a review of preclinical data from investigational treatments for rare diseases, such as soft tissue sarcoma, which are defined as conditions affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US.

This designation qualifies the developer of the drug for certain incentives, including, seven years of market exclusivity upon drug approval from the FDA.

Alastair Smith, chief executive officer of Avacta, said: “We are delighted to receive Orphan Drug Designation from the FDA for AVA6000, which is a reflection of the high quality of the preclinical data and the potential benefit the pre|CISION platform can bring to cancer patients.

“This designation provides tax credits and other incentives for drug developers addressing rare diseases. Most notably the Orphan Drug Designation will give Avacta, if AVA6000 is approved for treatment of soft tissue sarcoma, seven years of market exclusivity in the US, which is a significant commercial advantage.”

Mesenchymal malignancy

Soft-tissue sarcoma is a rare mesenchymal malignancy which accounts for less than 1% of all adult tumors. Despite the successful advancement of localized therapies, such as surgery and radiotherapy, these tumors can recur, often with metastatic disease.

The American Cancer Society estimates that, in 2022 approximately 13,190 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed, and about 5,130 people are expected to die of the disease in the U.S.

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