• Race Oncology demonstrates positive results in melanoma therapy
  • HITIQ extends deal with NZ Rugby
  • Arovella set to launch in Australia

Race Oncology (ASX:RAC)’s study of lead drug Zantrene in cancer immunotherapy has demonstrated positive results in a mouse model.

Interim results from Race’s preclinical melanoma research program have shown that Zantrene, when used in combination with immunotherapy, leads to shrinkage of mouse melanoma tumours that don’t respond to immunotherapy alone.

Used at low concentrations, Zantrene was found to enhance cancer immunotherapy in three ways.

First, it directly kills melanoma cells. Second, it activates immune cells positively for better targeting of tumours. And thirdly, it reduces the expression of immune evasion genes in the tumour.

Race chief scientific officer Dr Daniel Tillett said the results demonstrate the potential of Zantrene to enhance immunotherapy outcomes in melanoma.

“While checkpoint inhibitors have revolutionised the treatment of advanced melanomas, far too many patients show no, or only a short-term response, to these treatments,” Dr Tillett explained.

“Zantrene has shown its ability to work in three complementary ways to enhance the anti-melanoma immune response. I continue to be amazed by novel utility we’re seeing for Zantrene as a potential new cancer treatment.”

In a previous historic Phase I trial of Zantrene in humans, one of four treated patients with metastatic melanoma achieved a complete response (complete shrinkage of tumour) which lasted six months.

Despite these early successes, four subsequent Phase 2 studies of Zantrene in 100 melanoma patients using far longer dosing intervals and higher dosing levels did not achieve any significant clinical responses.


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HITIQ extends deal with NZ Rugby

New Zealand Rugby has extended its deal with HITIQ (ASX:HIQ) for the use of HITIQ’s CSX Concussion Assessment Technology.

The concussion management technology provides an efficient baseline testing and a digital record of any suspected concussion incident, as well as standardising rehabilitation protocols, ensuring consistency and a safe return to play.

Additionally, the platform contains an education portal to inform parents and caregivers about the signs and symptoms of concussion.

The new deal is a subscription agreement for the next 12 months.

While HITIQ doesn’t consider it to be material revenue-wise, it represents the largest rugby union-driven program of its kind, and sets a blueprint for a global rollout across other competitions.


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Arovella readies for Australian launch

Arovella Therapeutics (ASX:ALA) says that its distribution partner, STADA Australia, has initiated its commercial launch for ZolpiMist (zolpidem tartrate), a drug that treats insomnia in adults.

Under the terms, Arovella will coordinate manufacturing of the product through its Australian manufacturer.

The company is also in the process of implementing a more economical, elegant, and user-friendly child resistant lock (CRL), which is a modification to the current spray unit.

Arovella will receive a milestone payment of $40,000 upon the anticipated TGA approval of the new CRL.

Once the new CRL has been implemented, Arovella will receive a 10% royalty on net sales of the product from STADA in addition to supply price.

“This is an exciting milestone for Arovella,” said CEO Dr Michael Baker.

“We expected the product to be commercialised in the third quarter of 2022, and now we have achieved that milestone early,” he said.


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