Docetaxel is a highly effective cancer chemotherapy, but is accompanied by significant toxicity that limits its dosage levels and duration of use. Our knowledge of pharmacologic pathways indicated that the toxicity of the drug is due to the high variations in plasma levels after infusion of the drug. Merrimack has hypothesized that a more sustained release of the drug should result in less toxicity and improved efficacy.
MM-310 is an antibody-directed nanotherapeutic (ADN) that is designed to reduce the toxicity of docetaxel by incorporating it in the form of a drug precursor encapsulated in a nanoliposome to ensure a slower and more sustained release of the drug. The nanoliposome is further enhanced with antibodies to the EphA2 receptor, a receptor often over-expressed in tumors to help target more of the chemotherapy payload to the tumor site.
After identifying the maximum tolerated dose in humans and characterization of the drug’s safety profile, clinical studies will test the drug in tumor types that over-express the EphA2 receptors in order to achieve maximum treatment effect.