hearing loss prevention chemotherapy fennec

Development of Ototoxicity Drug, PEDMARK™, Faces Setback Following FDA Response

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NORTH CAROLINA — Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company, announced that it received a Complete Response Letter (CRL) on August 10, 2020 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding its New Drug Application for PEDMARK™ (a unique formulation of sodium thiosulfate), for intravenous administration for the prevention of ototoxicity associated with cisplatin chemotherapy in pediatric patients ≥1 month to 18 years of age with localized, non-metastatic, solid tumors.

According to the CRL, after recent completion of a pre-approval inspection of the manufacturing facility of the company’s drug product manufacturer, the FDA identified deficiencies resulting in a Form 483, which is a list of conditions or practices that are required to be resolved prior to the approval of PEDMARK™. 

 

Company Plans to Request FDA Meeting and Resubmit Application

 

The company plans to request a Type A meeting to discuss the issues and other matters that were described in the CRL pertaining to the steps required for the resubmission of the New Drug Application (NDA) for PEDMARK™.  Importantly, no clinical safety or efficacy issues were identified during the review and there is no requirement for further clinical data.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to reducing the risk of life-long hearing loss for children receiving cisplatin chemotherapy who currently have no approved therapies for this devastating condition. We will work closely with our manufacturer and the FDA to fully address the issues raised in the letter as expeditiously as possible.”

–Rosty Raykov, Fennec CEO

According to the press release, the company has existing cash, which totaled approximately $38.7 million as of June 30, 2020.

 

About PEDMARK™ (A unique formulation of sodium thiosulfate (STS))

Cisplatin and other platinum compounds are essential chemotherapeutic agents for many pediatric malignancies.  Unfortunately, platinum-based therapies cause ototoxicity, or hearing loss, which is permanent, irreversible and is particularly harmful to the survivors of pediatric cancer.

In the U.S. and Europe, it is estimated annually that over 10,000 children may receive platinum-based chemotherapy.  The incidence of ototoxicity depends upon the dose and duration of chemotherapy, and many of these children require lifelong hearing aids. There is currently no established preventive agent for this type of hearing loss and only expensive, technically difficult and sub-optimal cochlear (inner ear) implants have been shown to provide some benefit. Infants and young children that suffer ototoxicity at critical stages of development lack speech language development and literacy, and older children and adolescents lack social-emotional development and educational achievement.

PEDMARK has been studied by cooperative groups in two Phase 3 clinical studies of survival and reduction of ototoxicity, The Clinical Oncology Group Protocol ACCL0431 and SIOPEL 6. Both studies have been completed. The COG ACCL0431 protocol enrolled one of five childhood cancers typically treated with intensive cisplatin therapy for localized and disseminated disease, including newly diagnosed hepatoblastoma, germ cell tumor, osteosarcoma, neuroblastoma, and medulloblastoma.  SIOPEL 6 enrolled only hepatoblastoma patients with localized tumors.

The Marketing Authorization Application (MAA) for sodium thiosulfate (tradename PEDMARQSI) is currently under evaluation by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).  PEDMARK has received Breakthrough Therapy and Fast Track Designation by the FDA in March 2018. 

 

About Fennec Pharmaceuticals

Fennec Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the development of PEDMARK™ for the prevention of platinum-induced ototoxicity in pediatric patients.  Further, PEDMARK has received Orphan Drug Designation in the U.S. for this setting.  Fennec has a license agreement with Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) for exclusive worldwide license rights to intellectual property directed to STS and its use for chemoprotection, including the prevention of ototoxicity induced by platinum chemotherapy, in humans.  


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