The UK’s Antisoma has announced positive initial results from its second Phase II trial of AS1404 in non-small cell lung cancer.

The 30-patient trial tested an 1800 mg/m2 dose of AS1404 in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel chemotherapy and investigators reported a response rate of 50%. A further 43% of patients showed disease stabilisation, while only 7% had progressive disease as their best response and Antisoma noted that the addition of AS1404 to chemotherapy was well-tolerated despite the use of a dose 50% higher than that used in previous combination studies.

An earlier randomised controlled Phase II study in lung cancer showed a five-month increase in median survival when 1200 mg/m2 AS1404 was added to carboplatin and paclitaxel. The firm also noted that initial data from other controlled phase II trials in ovarian and prostate cancers have shown increased response rates with addition of AS1404 to standard chemotherapy.

Dr Mark McKeage of the University of Auckland, New Zealand, a key investigator in the AS1404 lung cancer studies, said that “the high response rate and favourable tolerability profile in this study support earlier data suggesting that AS1404 has real potential as a novel therapy for lung cancer." Antisoma’s chief executive Glyn Edwards added that the medicine now draws support from four Phase II studies across three different cancers, “an excellent position to be in as we prepare the drug for Phase III trials."

Last month the firm’s chairman Barry Price noted that "interest in licensing AS1404 has been considerable and we are confident that we will reach an agreement with a strong partner during the first half of 2007."