Being cutting-edge by introducing new tech advances is great, but it’s not the only way to go in entrepreneurship. Just ask the 34-year-old Punit Dhillon.
Punit Dhillon launched OncoSec Medical in 2011, leveraging “dead technology” to develop innovative medical treatments that harness the body’s immune system to detect and fight cancer. The revolutionary breakthrough has given hope to cancer patients and helped the company to grow from $20 to $100 million in less than 4 years. In this Q&A, I talked with Punit about his innovation and entrepreneurship in general.
Upon receiving Investigational Review Board (IRB) approval, OncoSec rolls out a Phase II clinical trial evaluating OncoSec’s electroporation therapy for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The trial takes place at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
UCSF investigators actively recruit up to 27 patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and administer the first doses of the immune-stimulating agent interleukin-12 (DNA IL-12) via electroporation. One treatment cycle consists of three treatments applied to up to four lesions on days one, five and eight, with a maximum dose of 3.0 mg DNA IL-12 per treatment cycle.
SAN DIEGO, CA — June 19, 2012 — OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCBB:ONCS), a company developing the OncoSec Medical System (OMS) ElectroOncology therapies to treat advanced-stage solid tumors, announced the Commissioner of Patents, Commonwealth of Australia Patent Office recently granted a new Method of Use patent (Patent Application No. 2007224275, “Method and Device for Treating Microscopic Residual Tumors Remaining in Tissues Following Surgical Resection”) for the company’s OMS ElectroOncology treatment platform. The issuance of this patent has the potential to expand OncoSec’s market opportunities for minimally invasive and surgical procedures to treat solid tumors, as an adjunct therapy to earlier-stage cancers. Specifically, it allows OMS technology to be used to treat the margins of solid tumors following surgical resection.
One of the methods of treating solid tumors, which represent the majority of all cancer incidences, is surgical removal of the tumor along with removal of healthy tissue surrounding the main tumor mass. The purpose of removing this additional tissue is to ensure that peripheral cancerous cells are also eliminated in order to prevent recurrence. However, the removal of this healthy tissue may result in function loss and have potentially detrimental cosmetic effects. This jeopardizes a patient’s quality of life.
OMS ElectroChemotherapy is an investigational therapy being evaluated to reduce the rate of cancer recurrence without quality of life side effects. As a potential adjunct to surgery, this therapeutic approach involves removal (using a scalpel) of the tumor mass, without removal of excess healthy tissue, followed by treatment with OMS ElectroChemotherapy. This approach has been shown to selectively kill cancer cells that may exist in the surrounding tissue, which may result in a reduced rate of recurrence and the potential to complement standard-of-care surgical procedures as an alternative to surgery alone.
Punit Dhillon, OncoSec’s President and CEO, commented, “The issuance of this patent opens the possibility for improving surgical outcomes in cancer therapy. There is a tremendous unmet clinical need, especially for advanced cancer where recurrence rates associated with surgery remain high.Treatment of margin tissue with our therapy potentially expands the market for our product beyond those indications we are currently pursuing for the use of the technology. We envision that surgical margins could be routinely treated with our therapy, providing increased benefit to patients.”
OncoSec Medical Incorporated is a biopharmaceuticalcompany developing advanced-stage OMS ElectroOncology therapies to treat solid tumor cancers and metastatic disease. OMS ElectroOncology therapies address an unmet medical need and represent apotential solution for less invasive and less expensive therapies that are able to minimize detrimental effects resulting from traditional cancer treatments. OncoSec’s core technology is based upon its proprietary use of an electroporation platform, to dramatically enhance the delivery and uptake of a locally delivered DNA-based immuno-cytokine or a chemotherapeutic agent. Treatment of various solid cancers using these targeted anti-cancer agents has demonstrated selective destruction of cancerous cells while sparing healthy normal tissues during early and late stage clinical trials. OncoSec’s clinical programs include three Phase II clinical trials for OMS ElectroImmunotherapy targeting lethal skin cancers. More information is available at www.oncosec.com.
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This press release contains forward looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements in this release that are not historical facts may be considered such “forward looking statements.” Forward looking statements are based on management’s current preliminary expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties which may cause ourresults to differ materially and adversely from the statements contained herein. Some of the potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those predicted include our ability to raise additional funding, our ability to acquire, develop or commercialize new products, uncertainties inherent in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials, unexpected new data, safety and technical issues, competition and market conditions. These and additional risks and uncertainties are more fully described in OncoSec’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward looking statements which speak only as of the date they are made. OncoSec disclaims any obligation to update any forward looking statements to reflect new information, events or circumstances after the date they are made, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
OncoSec is granted a new method of use patent from the Commissioner of Patents, Commonwealth of Australia Patent Office. The patent covers the company’s OMS (OncoSec Medical System) treatment platform as a “ Method and Device for Treating Microscopic Residual Tumors Remaining in Tissues Following Surgical Resection”.
The patent offers potential for OMS technology to be used to treat the margins of solid tumors following surgical resection, thereby expanding of OncoSec’s market opportunities considerably.
OncoSec enters into an exclusive cGMP manufacturing agreement with VGXI Inc. for the production of interleukin-12 plasmid DNA (DNA IL-12). VGXI possesses a patented DNA plasmid manufacturing process essential to the production of DNA IL-12.
OncoSec administers DNA IL-12 as part of an innovative immunotherapy for treating skin cancers. With large-scale process development and clinical manufacturing of this immunotherapeutic, OncoSec has the ability to scale up production for its OMS (OncoSec Medical System) treatment activities.
OncoSec releases Phase IV study data demonstrating that chemotherapy delivered by electroporation compares favorably to standard outcomes associated with surgery for patients with head and neck cancer.
The study demonstrates local tumor control in 94% of primary and 57% of recurrent tumors as well as enhanced quality of life for patients treated via electroporation using the OncoSec Medical System (OMS). Data is taken from 81 subjects in a Phase IV study of primary and locally recurrent squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, each of whom was treated with OMS in a European trial. In terms of both tumor control and overall quality of life, the OMS system compares favorably to surgical intervention.
OncoSec announces the closing of a sale to institutional investors of an aggregate of 31,000,000 shares of its common stock at $0.25 per share in a registered public offering. Investors also receive warrants to purchase up to 31,000,000 shares of common stock at an exercise price of $0.35 per share for a term of five years.
The gross proceeds of the offering are $7.75 million, with net proceeds of approximately $7.2 million.
Oncosec initiates two additional enrolling sites for its Phase II metastatic melanoma clinical trials.
Both the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, CA, and Lakeland Comprehensive Cancer Center in Lakeland, FL are initiated as trial sites, and investigators begin screening patients.
A total of up to 25 patients with stage III or IV cutaneous and in-transit metastatic melanoma are enrolled in this Phase II, single-arm, open-label and multi-center study.
The first patient with metastatic melanoma is dosed during a Phase II clinical trial evaluating OncoSec’s OMS system.
After Investigational Review Board (IRB) approval is received by the University of California, San Francisco, UCSF investigators begin actively recruiting patients with stage III or IV cutaneous and in-transit metastatic melanoma for the trial. A total of up to 25 patients is enrolled in this Phase II, single-arm, open-label and multi-center study.