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Aslan, ACT to Study Exceptional Responders to Pan-HER Inhibitor

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Aslan Pharmaceuticals and ACT Genomics today announced they would work together to investigate the genomic characteristics that might be fueling some patients' better-than-expected response to a cancer drug, ASLAN001.

Aslan, an oncology-focused biotechnology firm, has a portfolio of immune checkpoint inhibitors and tumor metabolism stress molecules that target malignancies prevalent in Asia, such as breast, gastric, and bile duct cancers. According to a statement from the firm, it plans to use ACT's next-generation sequencing and multiplex molecular diagnostics to study "major responses" patients have had to ASLAN001.

"The collaboration with ACT provides Aslan with access to ground-breaking genomic expertise with the potential to transform cancer genomic information into precision diagnosis, improved cancer assays and, ultimately, better clinical outcomes for patients," Bertil Lindmark, CSO of Aslan, said in a statement.  

The drugmaker is studying ASLAN001, a pan-HER inhibitor, in breast and bile duct cancer. In clinical studies, one bile duct cancer patient had 87 percent tumor shrinkage sustained over a long period, which is unusual in such a severe tumor type.

A number of published research studies have similarly investigated so-called exceptional responders and have identified novel genomic drivers of disease and treatment response. The National Cancer Institute also has an Exceptional Responders Initiative, in which researchers are sequencing tumor tissue from patients in an effort to pinpoint why they had a complete or partial response in a drug trial where 90 percent of the cohort failed to derive a benefit.