An investigational drug called NXP800, discovered at the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at London’s Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), is to enter Phase I clinical trials in patients with advanced cancers.

The Phase I study will begin later this year and is being funded by oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company Nuvectis Pharma.

The investigational oral drug inhibits the Heat Shock Factor-1 (HSF1) pathway, and in pre-clinical studies was shown to potently block human cancer cell growth in culture and cause regression of tumours in mice – with hard-to-treat ovarian clear cell carcinoma (OCCC) and endometrioid ovarian cancers being the most sensitive to treatment.

Nuvectis has licensed worldwide development and commercialisation rights to the HSF1 drug candidate from its previous commercial investor, the CRT Pioneer Fund (CPF) managed by Sixth Element Capital.

Professor Udai Banerji, deputy director of drug development at the ICR and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, commented: “This Phase I trial will aim to establish a safe dose and dosing schedule for NXP800, as well as provide initial evidence of its clinical activity in a range of cancer types – and we hope that it will lead on to late-stage clinical development.”