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SAN DIEGO, March 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- MEI Pharma, Inc. (NASDAQ: MEIP), a late-stage pharmaceutical company focused on advancing new therapies for cancer, today announced that the abstract, Voruciclib, a CDK9 inhibitor, downregulates MYC and inhibits proliferation of KRAS mutant cancers in preclinical models, was selected for an E-Poster Session presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2021 and will be available on April 10, 2021. Voruciclib is an orally available inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9), part of a family of regulatory enzymes important to cell cycle regulation associated with cell proliferation and increased survival.
KRAS mutated cancers are frequently associated with overexpression of MYC, a transcription factor regulating cell proliferation and growth. Inhibition of CDK9 leads to reduced transcription of MYC. As reported in the abstract to be presented at AACR 2021, voruciclib decreased cell viability among multiple KRAS mutant cancer cell lines in vitro and was associated with significant tumor growth inhibition in vivo. Voruciclib treatment was associated with rapid inhibition of MYC phosphorylation at Ser62 resulting in a decrease in MYC protein. The research presented suggests that voruciclib could be an attractive therapeutic target for cancers driven by KRAS mutated cancers.
MEI pharma is also engaged in additional pre-clinical studies to explore the potential synergistic activity in various cancers of voruciclib in combination with drug-candidates that directly inhibit KRAS.
Details of MEI's e-poster presentation at AACR Annual Meeting 2021:
Abstract Title: Voruciclib, a CDK9 inhibitor, downregulates MYC and inhibits proliferation of KRAS mutant cancers in preclinical models
Poster Number: 1962
Poster Session Title: Cell Cycle
Date: Saturday, April 10, 2021
Abstracts and full session details can be found at https://www.aacr.org/meeting/aacr-annual-meeting-2021/
Voruciclib is an orally administered cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor differentiated by its potent in vitro inhibition of CDK9 in addition to CDK6, 4 and 1. The CDK family of proteins are important cell cycle regulators.
CDK9 is a transcriptional regulator of the myeloid leukemia cell differentiation protein ("MCL1"), a member of the family of anti-apoptotic proteins which, when elevated, may prevent the cell from undergoing cell death. Inhibition of CDK9 blocks the production of MCL1, which is an established resistance mechanism to the B-cell lymphoma ("BCL2") inhibitor venetoclax (marketed as Venclexta®).
CDK9 is also a transcriptional regulator of MYC proto-oncogene protein ("MYC"), a transcription factor regulating cell proliferation and growth which contributes to many human cancers and is frequently associated with poor prognosis and unfavorable patient survival. Targeting MYC directly has historically been difficult, but CDK9 is a transcriptional regulator of MYC and is a promising approach to target this oncogene.
Voruciclib is being currently evaluated in a Phase 1b trial evaluating dose and schedule in patients with acute myeloid leukemia ("AML") and B-cell malignancies.
About MEI Pharma
MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP) is a late-stage pharmaceutical company focused on developing potential new therapies for cancer. MEI Pharma's portfolio of drug candidates contains four clinical-stage assets, including zandelisib, currently in an ongoing Phase 2 clinical trial which may support accelerated approval applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Each of MEI Pharma's pipeline candidates leverages a different mechanism of action with the objective of developing therapeutic options that are: (1) differentiated, (2) address unmet medical needs and (3) deliver improved benefit to patients either as standalone treatments or in combination with other therapeutic options. For more information, please visit www.meipharma.com.
Under U.S. law, a new drug cannot be marketed until it has been investigated in clinical studies and approved by the FDA as being safe and effective for the intended use. Statements included in this press release that are not historical in nature are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should be aware that our actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, our failure to successfully commercialize our product candidates; costs and delays in the development and or FDA approval, or the failure to obtain such approval, of our product candidates; uncertainties or differences in interpretation in clinical trial results; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry and individual companies, including on our counterparties, the supply chain, the execution of our clinical development programs, our access to financing and the allocation of government resources; our inability to maintain or enter into, and the risks resulting from our dependence upon, collaboration or contractual arrangements necessary for the development, manufacture, commercialization, marketing, sales and distribution of any products; competitive factors; our inability to protect our patents or proprietary rights and obtain necessary rights to third party patents and intellectual property to operate our business; our inability to operate our business without infringing the patents and proprietary rights of others; general economic conditions; the failure of any products to gain market acceptance; our inability to obtain any additional required financing; technological changes; government regulation; changes in industry practice; and one-time events. We do not intend to update any of these factors or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements.
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