Zantrene shows impressive synergy with BRAF & MEK inhibitors in treating melanoma

28 June 2022 – Race Oncology Limited (“Race”) is pleased to share the final results from our preclinical melanoma research program in collaboration with the University of Newcastle (ASX announcement: 19 March 2021). This program aimed to explore the use of Zantrene® (bisantrene dihydrochloride) in novel drug combinations for the treatment of both immunotherapy and drug resistant melanomas using cell and mouse models.

In previous research, Zantrene as a single agent was found to be highly effective at killing a diverse range of melanoma cell subtypes, showing an association between FTO expression levels and melanoma cell sensitivity to Zantrene (ASX announcement: 30 September 2021).

Zantrene in combination with BRAF and MEK protein kinase inhibitors has been found to improve the killing of human melanoma cells and to better target melanoma in organoid and animal tumour models. These discoveries offer potential non-immunotherapeutic pathways for the use of Zantrene in melanoma treatment.

“These exciting preclinical results offer an alternative path to use Zantrene in the clinic to help advanced melanoma patients who are unable to tolerate, or are unresponsive to immunotherapy. The synergy that has now been observed with a diverse range of kinase inhibitors suggests possibilities for the clinical use of Zantrene in combination with kinase inhibitors far beyond melanoma.”

Race Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Daniel Tillett

“This research adds to the growing body of research we have on Zantrene and its various areas of potential. While there is a lot of combination work being completed around the world with checkpoint inhibitors, there is much less competition from combinations with BRAF/MEK inhibitors. This therefore presents an interesting commercial angle for Race to explore as we assess how to best show Zantrene’s value to potential partners, regulators and patients.”

Race Chief Executive Officer, Mr Phillip Lynch