First-in-Class Drug, CFI-400945, Funded by Donor Grants Alone, Inhibits Growth of Several Cancers

September 2013, Vol 4, No 7 - Value Propositions


A group of scientists led by Tak Mak, MD, Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, Director of Clinical/Translational Research, University of California, Los Angeles, and supported by funding from donor grants only, has filed a New Drug Application with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a drug developed based on the target enzyme PLK4, which plays a crucial role in cancer-cell division. “Dr Slamon and I are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow scientists and the donors who believe in our vision and have generously helped to finance our critical work,” said Dr Mak. “It is extremely rare for an academic group to have discovered and advanced a novel ‘first-in-class’ drug candidate to this level, and it would not have been possible without the fundamental support provided by donors.”

Laboratory studies have shown that CFI-400945 effectively inhibits the growth of breast, ovarian, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, and prostate cancers, as well as glioblastoma and melanoma. The FDA’s initial response was positive. The $40 million of donations for this discovery were mainly from walkers and their donors in the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend To End Women’s Cancers, the Campbell family, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Genome Canada, and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.

“I truly believe in this important discovery and its therapeutic potential for cancer patients,” said Dr Slamon, who is best known for discovering Herceptin. The drug will enter clinical trials in the near future. Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation; June 18, 2013