Ovarian cancer has one of the highest rates of folate receptor expression at about 85 percent. Approximately 80 percent of endometrial, lung and kidney cancers, and 50 percent of breast and colon cancers also express the receptor, Low said.
Leamon added that the positive opinions from the CHMP show the importance of persistence in developing cancer-fighting therapeutics, since many obstacles have been encountered and then solved along this rocky pathway to success.
“It takes a lot of resources, including time, to bring research from the laboratory to clinical trials, and then be considered for approval by national and international agencies,” Low said. “There is a strong team at Endocyte, Merck and Purdue University that has worked well together to develop new therapies for people affected by cancer.”
“It is always good news when promising new pharmaceuticals move one step closer to the market, and this is particularly gratifying because we know how hard Phil, Chris and the whole Endocyte team are working to bring vintafolide to the public where it can help people,” said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels. “This is just one of many medical advancements that Phil and other Purdue researchers are developing, and that is one reason why Purdue is investing $29 million in a new drug discovery building. We anticipate there will be many other companies like Endocyte originating from Purdue innovations.”
The drug discovery building and Low’s work are part of the Purdue Moves drug discovery initiative to translate basic research into life-changing treatments.
The CHMP positive opinions will be reviewed by the European Commission. If approved, the European Commission will grant a centralized marketing authorization with unified labeling that is valid in the 28 countries that are members of the European Union, as well as European Economic Area members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. The European Commission usually issues a final legally binding decision within three months of a CHMP opinion.