CALGARY, AB, --- December 22, 2006 - Oncolytics Biotech Inc. (“Oncolytics”) (TSX:ONC, NASDAQ:ONCY) announced today that it has received a letter of approval from the U.K. Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for its Clinical Trial Application (CTA) to begin a clinical trial using intravenous administration of REOLYSIN® in combination with paclitaxel and carboplatin in patients with advanced cancers including melanoma, lung, and ovarian. The principal investigators are Dr. Kevin Harrington of The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and Dr. Geoff Hall of St. James’s Hospital in Leeds, U.K. The combination of paclitaxel and carboplatin chemotherapy is used in cancer patients with ovarian and lung cancers, and is also used widely in the treatment of many other types of cancer.
“The approval of this trial represents an important step forward for Oncolytics, allowing us to move quickly into a treatment combination that could result in a first-line therapy indication for REOLYSIN®,” said Dr. Brad Thompson, President and CEO of Oncolytics.
In studies conducted by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI), the combination of REOLYSIN® and paclitaxel was uniformly synergistic against six non-small cell lung cancer cell lines examined, including cell lines resistant to paclitaxel or REOLYSIN®. Preclinical studies conducted at Cornell University also found that REOLYSIN® in combination with platinum drugs enhanced the cytotoxicity of the chemotherapeutic agents.
This trial (REO-011) has two components. The first is an open-label, dose-escalating, non-randomized study of REOLYSIN® given intravenously with paclitaxel and carboplatin every three weeks. Standard dosages of paclitaxel and carboplatin will be delivered with escalating dosages of REOLYSIN® intravenously. A maximum of three cohorts will be enrolled in the REOLYSIN® dose escalation portion. The second component of the trial will immediately follow and will include the enrolment of a further 12 patients at the maximum dosage of REOLYSIN® in combination with standard dosages of paclitaxel and carboplatin.
Eligible patients include those who have been diagnosed with advanced or metastatic solid tumours such as melanoma, lung and ovarian cancers that are refractory (have not responded) to standard therapy or for which no curative standard therapy exists. The primary objective of the trial is to determine the Maximum Tolerated Dose (MTD), Dose-Limiting Toxicity (DLT), recommended dose and dosing schedule and safety profile of REOLYSIN® when administered in combination with carboplatin and paclitaxel. Secondary objectives include the evaluation of immune response to the drug combination, the body’s response to the drug combination compared to chemotherapy alone and any evidence of anti-tumour activity.
In the U.K. and the U.S., more than 300,000 people are diagnosed annually with melanoma, lung and ovarian cancers.
About Oncolytics Biotech Inc.
Oncolytics is a Calgary-based biotechnology company focused on the development of oncolytic viruses as potential cancer therapeutics. Oncolytics’ clinical program includes a variety of Phase I and Phase II human trials using REOLYSIN®, its proprietary formulation of the human reovirus, alone and in combination with radiation or chemotherapy. For further information about Oncolytics, please visit www.oncolyticsbiotech.com
For more information about paclitaxel and carboplatin, visit www.bms.com
This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements, including the Company’s expectations related to the U.K. combination REOLYSIN®/paclitaxel and carboplatin clinical trial, and the Company’s belief as to the potential of REOLYSIN® as a cancer therapeutic, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the availability of funds and resources to pursue research and development projects, the efficacy of REOLYSIN® as a cancer treatment, the tolerability of REOLYSIN® outside a controlled test, the success and timely completion of clinical studies and trials, the Company’s ability to successfully commercialize REOLYSIN®, uncertainties related to the research and development of pharmaceuticals and uncertainties related to the regulatory process. Investors should consult the Company’s quarterly and annual filings with the Canadian and U.S. securities commissions for additional information on risks and uncertainties relating to the forward looking statements. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update these forward-looking statements.