Anti-cancer drugs to launch clinical trials in Japan

Osaka-based Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma (DSP) will start its first series of clinical trials in Japan on anti-cancer drugs that target highly malignant cancer stem cells, local press reported on Thursday.

The pharmaceutical company plans to submit clinical trial applications to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare within months to further develop treatments for cancer patients, said the country’s public broadcaster Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK).

The Osaka-based company said the trial of molecular oral drugs, BBI608 and BBI503, which have been developed by a research team at Boston Biomedical Inc. (BBI), will start within months at Japanese medical institutions. Meanwhile, the Phase III clinical trial for BBI 608 will soon commence in North American hospitals. The compounds are expected to cause an anti-tumor effect in cancer stem cells.

Currently, there are no successful anti-cancer drugs, but DSP’ s spokesperson told Xinhua that BBI608 and BBI503 are likely to become the first anti-cancer drugs in the world targeting cancer stem cells, adding that the company aims to commercialize the drugs in 2015 in the United States, to be followed later by Japan.