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Development of GPER Agonists as Therapeuticsfor Cutaneous and Uveal Melanoma

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R44CA228695-04A1
Agency Tracking Number: R44CA228695
Amount: $4,000,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 102
Solicitation Number: CA21-036
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-04-05
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-03-31
Small Business Information
3401 GRAYS FERRY AVE, BLDG 212-239
Philadelphia, PA 19146-2701
United States
DUNS: 079989475
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (732) 565-1113
Business Contact
Phone: (484) 832-4554
Research Institution

Project Summary:Although recent advances in immune and targeted therapies have dramatically improved outcomes
for many patients with advanced cancer, durable responses are achieved in only a minority of patients,
and treatment is frequently limited by significant side effects. There is an urgent need to identify new
therapeutic targets and efficacious pharmacologic agents that selectively engage them. Orally
deliverable, well-tolerated, and easily synthesized small molecule cancer therapeutics that work in
combination with existing standard-of-care drugs are especially desired. Recent work by us and others
established that many cancer types are inhibited by nonclassical estrogen signaling through a widely
expressed surface receptor called G protein-coupled estrogen receptor (GPER). Linnaeus has used
Phase I and Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) and Small Business Innovation
Research (SBIR) awards (R41/R44 CA228695), along with venture capital funding, to advance a GPER
agonist called LNS8801 to human trials. Preclinical work has established that (1) LNS8801 has potent
antitumor effects across a wide range of malignancies and that this activity depends on GPER
expression in the tumor cells; (2) LNS8801 has beneficial combinatorial effects with targeted therapies,
chemotherapies, and immunotherapies; and (3) LNS8801 has a large safety window in rats and dogs.
Linnaeus also developed an orally bioavailable and manufacturable formulation of LNS8801. Together,
this work enabled us to receive clearance of an Investigational New Drug Application as well as Fast
Track designation from the FDA in anti-PD1 refractory melanoma; Orphan Designation from the FDA in
uveal melanoma; initiate a multisite phase 1 clinical trial (NCT04130516) and complete dose escalation
at 7 cancer centers in the United States; and formalize a drug supply collaboration with Merck for
pembrolizumab. To date, 28 evaluable patients with treatment-refractory advanced cancer have
received LNS8801 either alone or in combination with pembrolizumab, which has proven safe and well
tolerated at all dose levels. We have observed depletion of c-Myc protein after LNS8801 treatment,
validating the mechanism of action. LNS8801 has demonstrated clinical benefit in several patients,
particularly in cutaneous and uveal melanoma. The purpose of this Phase IIB proposal is to further
evaluate these initial clinical efficacy signals in cutaneous and uveal melanoma, validate predictive and
prognostic biomarkers, and to develop optimized drug product. Completion of these aims will result in
the identification of defined patient subgroups most likely to benefit from LNS8801 in future pivotal
registration trials.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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