Erytech Pharma: completion of the enrollment of patients in its phase 1 clinical trial in pancreatic cancer

6 October 2011

Erytech Pharma announced on 27th June 2011, that they had just completed the enrollment of patients in a Phase I clinical trial with its flagship product for pancreatic cancer, Graspa®.

This product contains the enzyme L-asparaginase encapsulated in red blood cells, using technology owned by Erytech Pharma. The first results in this study demonstrated that Graspa® was active, with a safety profile that was satisfactory for patients in last-line therapy.

On the back of this success, Erytech is expecting to forge ahead with the clinical development of Graspa® for the treatment of pancreatic cancer in "responder" patients.

Pancreatic cancer, a significant medical challenge

Pancreatic cancer remains a significant medical challenge, with over 140,000 new cases reported every year in Europe and the USA.  It is the ninth-ranked cause of cancer-related death in Europe.

Published academic studies and Erytech's own research on mice and on patient samples have shown that a subgroup of tumors is sensitive to the action of L-asparaginase. In order to select responders, Erytech is working with private-sector and academic partners with a view to fine-tuning a predictive test for the efficacy of encapsulated asparaginase. Of note is a research agreement signed with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in the US, which has identified a biomarker for the prediction of L-asparaginase on solid tumors.

Graspa® has been granted orphan drug designation by the European Medicines Agency for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. It has also received this status in Europe and in the USA for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Erytech Pharma's use of encapsulation technology opens up new cancer treatment possibilities, in which enhanced efficacy and reduced toxicity are key elements in an improved prognosis and quality of life for patients.


Dr Yann Godfrin, Erytech Pharma's co-founder, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr Yann Godfrin (ERYTECH Pharma's co-founder, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer) commented "We are delighted with these results in pancreatic cancer. Graspa® showed good safety and tolerability in these particularly fragile patients, whereas other clinical studies have shown significant toxicity with forms of asparaginase. We had obtained the same results in leukemia; it is the first time in a solid tumor".

Thierry André, professor of Hepatogastroenterology, department at Pitié-Salpêtrière Medical Centre and investigator of the study

Professor Thierry André (the Hepatogastroenterology Department at Pitié-Salpêtrière Medical Centre and investigator of the study) emphasized that "asparagine depletion appears to be an attractive approach to treating this cancer. It would be especially valuable if, in future clinical studies, we could select patients likely to show a treatment response to this depletion".

Pierre-Olivier Goineau, Erytech Pharma's co-founder and Chairman

Pierre-Olivier Goineau, co-founder and Chairman concluded by saying that "with Graspa®'s efficacy and tolerance profile, we are expecting to widen its scope for appropriate use - particularly in solid tumors. The overall potential market for Graspa® could well amount up to several million Euros in the future".

Find out more

Erytech Pharma (Lyon, Philadelphia) is a specialty pharma company developing innovative therapeutic solutions based on its proprietary technology and expertise in the physiological properties of erythrocytes.

The company addresses serious pathologies, orphan indications or unaddressed sub-populations of patients, particularly in the fields of hematology, cancer and metabolic diseases.