QBiotics Group Limited, a life sciences company developing novel anticancer and wound healing pharmaceuticals, announced that the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) has approved its lead veterinary anticancer product, STELFONTA, making it the first FDA approved treatment for all grades of canine non-metastatic mast cell tumors. The news follows approvals for STELFONTA in early 2020 by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the United Kingdoms’s Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and Swissmedic, with subsequent sales in all major European markets.
In the United States, STELFONTA (tigilanol tiglate injection) is indicated for the treatment of all non-metastatic cutaneous MCT and non-metastatic subcutaneous MCT, located at or distal to the elbow or the hock in dogs. MCTs are the most frequently diagnosed cancer in dogs.
Chad Johannes, Assistant Professor of Oncology at Iowa State University and consultant to QBiotics said, “STELFONTA brings a novel therapeutic mechanism and intratumoral delivery route to veterinary medicine. The efficacy and durability of response data in dogs with mast cell tumors are very promising. While surgery will remain the mainstay, I do think STELFONTA will reshape how we approach local mast cell tumour control in many ways.”
Victoria Gordon, CEO and Managing Director of QBiotics, said, “FDA approval is a pivotal achievement for both STELFONTA and QBiotics. STELFONTA has the potential to be a category igniter – given it is easy to administer, provides 75 percent complete tumor resolution after just one injection and dogs quickly regain pre-treatment quality of life. European sales of STELFONTA have been impressive, and we are excited to be working with Virbac to bring the drug to the US market to help treat the 3 million dogs there that each year are diagnosed with cancer.”
Gordon continued, “this approval also provides strong validation of our highly efficient business model, where veterinary product sales provide repeatable revenue for the company, and the strong veterinary data underpins our human drug development program. Clinical efficacy and safety responses reported in canine patients are also being mirrored in our human patients. In a Phase I/IIa human safety trial, tigilanol tiglate, the active ingredient in STELFONTA, demonstrated antitumor responses in a range of solid tumors. This included complete responses (where the tumor is completely destroyed) in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Notably, a maximum tolerated dose was not declared for this study. We are currently investigating the drug’s potential as both a monotherapy and an immune checkpoint inhibitor combination therapy through a series of Phase II clinical trials.
QBiotics and its partner, Virbac, a global animal health company, will first launch STELFONTA to specialist US veterinary oncologists over the coming months, followed by the launch to primary care veterinarians in early 2021.