In the last decade the bio-pharm industry has spent more than $1 trillion bringing 72 new cancer drugs to market. Patients and the healthcare systems around the world have spent many trillions paying for the drugs. According to a 2016 study published in JAMA, the result of that effort is an overall cancer survival improvement that gave patients only 2.1 more months of life than older drugs.
And those are the successes. Two-thirds of cancer drugs approved in the past two years have no evidence showing that they extend survival at all.
Why such a poor track record? Current treatments face the same problem as before: for many patients, the treatments stop working because the cancer cells rapidly mutate to resist the therapy targeted against them. Commonly known as drug resistance this phenomenon is one of the most challenging problems facing cancer researchers and patients, and it is the one that brought Neovia Oncology into existence.
Neovia is founded by two successful pharmaceutical entrepreneurs who have combined resources to bring together a global team of experts dedicated to developing cancer drugs that overcome the urgent and unsolved problem of multi-drug resistance.
Researchers believe one possible way to overcome the development of resistance is to treat patients with combinations of different drugs, but that can subject patients to unacceptable levels of side effects. Researchers have now also turned their efforts to Immune therapies that work by stimulating a patient’s natural immune system to combat cancer cells. Immune recognition, however, rarely controls advanced tumors.
Even the most effective immune response will fail if tumors fail to express target antigens. Antigens are proteins found on the surface of tumor cells that serve as a signal that the cell has to be destroyed before it proliferates. This has prompted a search for agents with improved antigen-enhancing properties. Neovia Oncology develops treatments that both overcome drug-resistance and enhance immune therapy.