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Lotus, EF Biotech, and Hualian Tzu Chi hospital to form alliance in conducting clinical trial for new treatments for brain cancer

22 May 2017

Lotus Pharmaceutical, Hualian Tzu Chi Hospital and EF Biotech signed MOU today regarding the co-development of the combo targeted therapy of Cerebraca wafer and Temozolomide for the treatment of Glioblastoma Multiformis (GBM). Under the agreement, clinical trial of this new treatment for brain cancer will begin in June. Superintendent of Tzu Chi Shinn-Zong Lin, Chairman of EF Biotech Doctor Pei-Wen Chou, and Sales Director of Lotus Pharmaceutical Dino Kuan appeared at the signing press conference today at 2pm.

Malignant tumor is among the 10 leading causes of death in Taiwan. The study of America Cancer Society (ACS) shows that there are 20 thousand new cases of brain tumor recorded in the Central Brain Tumor Registry (CBTR) in the US and approximately 600 new cases in Taiwan every year. Recent data also shows that GMB represents nearly half of brain cancers in Taiwan.

GMB is a very aggressive malignant tumor that begins within the brain and can grow 16 times larger within a year. Worsening of symptoms are usually rapid and there is no clear way to prevent it from recurring after removing the tumor. The most common length of survival following diagnosis is around 12 to 18 months because most of the patients are already in stage 4. Only 3.4% of people survived longer than 5 years. Typical treatments, though with limited results, include removal surgeries, chemotherapy using Temozolomide, and radiation therapy.

EF Biotech started the development of targeted therapy Cerebraca Wafer 5 years ago with core technologies transferred from Tzu Chi and National Dung Hwa University. Cerebraca wafer implanted in the brain where the tumor was post-removal would slowly release inhibitor of DNA-repair genes MGMT to surrounding brain tissues, reducing its resistance to Temozolomide. Cerebraca wafer is now patented in Taiwan, China, US, Japan and EU.

Temozolomide is the first global oncology drug developed by Lotus and was launched in Taiwan more than 5 years ago. Commenting on the co-development across industries, General Manager of Lotus Jefferson Wang said he is proud to see the resistance to Temozolomide of brain cancer patients reduced thanks to improvements in the treatment, and hope that this would significantly improve the qualities of life of the patients.