Noxopharm says early results indicate its cancer treatment NOX66 is working.

The news pushed Noxopharm’s (ASX:NOX) shares to a near record high of 80c in Monday lunchtime trade — a 24 per cent gain.

Interim clinical data from nine patients in a yet-to-be concluded trial indicated their cancers had stopped growing — while one had their cancer partially respond to the drug.

Another patient’s cancer did not respond to the combination program of chemotherapy and NOX66, a version of the experimental anti-cancer drug, idronoxil.

The original aim of the trial was to see if NOX66 could overcome cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy drug carboplatin, and whether that could be achieved with a well-tolerated, lower-than-normal dose of chemotherapy.

NOX66 attempts to isolate the cancer cells and decrease their ability to self-repair during the oncology process, enabling the body to respond to the chemotherapy or radiotherapy as the treatments were initially designed.

It is considered an enhancement drug to existing treatment options.

Noxopharm's share price over the past year. Source:
Noxopharm’s share price over the past year. Source:

NOX66 was designed by Noxopharm chief Dr Graham Kelly before he was chief of Novogen (ASX:NRT).

Dr Kelly developed prostate cancer while developing the drug and after exhausting all other treatment options, tested the drug on himself — which worked.

The initial results of the 19-patient study with late-stage metastatic solid breast, ovarian, lung, prostate, head and neck cancers showed NOX66 was “well tolerated”.

Four dropped out, one because of an adverse effect in the third stage of the trial.

Of the 11 patients left who had cancers measurable by scans, five received a daily dose of 400 mg NOX66 daily and six received 800 mg NOX66.

“The one case of progressive disease (lung cancer) was in the 400 mg dose cohort, and the one case of partial response (prostate cancer) was in the 800 mg dose cohort,” the company said.

Five patients on the higher dose are yet to finish the second of the three stage trial, and only one to date has successfully completed the whole thing.

Dr Kelly says it’s noteworthy that the combination drug worked across a range of cancers.

“It is the disease status of the patients that is worth noting,” he said.

“The patients coming into this study are all late-stage cancer patients with metastatic disease and with no remaining standard treatment options.

“So, to see only one of 11 patients show disease progression after three months of treatment on combined NOX66 and low-dose carboplatin is something that we regard as highly encouraging.

“We obviously cannot categorically rule out this effect being due to carboplatin alone, but that seems highly unlikely given both the treatment history of these patients and the considerable clinical experience of monthly carboplatin on its own delivering very marginal clinical benefit across most forms of cancer.”

  • This story has been updated to note that NOX66 was developed before Mr Kelly was CEO of Novogen, not during.