Tosk’s Drug to Prevent Mucositis Proves Safe and Effective

December 17, 2018

Tosk’s Drug to Prevent Mucositis Proves Safe and Effective

Privately held biotechnology company, Tosk, Inc., announced today the successful completion of the Company’s human clinical study testing the safety and efficacy of its patented drug, TK-90, to prevent the painful and dose-limiting mucositis caused by widely used cancer therapies.

TK-90 was administered to 25 head and neck cancer patients receiving methotrexate to determine the optimal dose of treatment as well as to confirm safety. TK-90 proved effective in preventing virtually all of patients’ mucositis at the two higher doses tested. No TK-90 related side effects were observed in any patient group. A follow-up study is planned to confirm these results using the optimal dose and will be completed within the first half of 2019.

“Tosk’s mission is to improve the quality of life of cancer patients worldwide by providing them with highly effective, inexpensive drugs that eliminate toxic side effects and make certain drugs effective in patients that do not currently benefit from treatment,” Tosk’s CEO, Brian Frenzel, said. “Though side effect reduction is one of the 10 areas of emphasis in the U.S. government’s Cancer Moonshot initiative, it tends to be under appreciated. Side effects suffered by cancer patients not only reduce their quality of life but can force physicians to limit cancer treatment. Also, side effects are often expensive to treat, increasing the cost of care. Some cancer therapy side effects are permanent and reduce lifespan, even if the cancer is in remission. Our team at Tosk is dedicated to addressing these important, unmet medical needs.”

Tosk has two other promising side-effect-reducing drugs in the pipeline. TK-39 is a patented drug that blocks the cardiotoxicity caused by a class of widely-used cancer drugs known as the anthracyclines. These drugs are used to treat breast, bladder, and lung cancers, as well as lymphomas and leukemias. The damage to heart tissue from these drugs is permanent and limits the lifetime dosage of an otherwise effective cancer treatment. Tosk’s other side-effect-reducing drug, TK-88, is designed to block adverse effects caused by widely used platinum-based drugs, such as cisplatin and carboplatin. These side effects can include loss of kidney function, peripheral neuropathy, and hearing loss.

“The results of the TK-90 clinical study fully met our expectations,” said Frenzel. “The company has initiated a partner search to identify companies that would be a good fit for TK-90. We plan to grow and add other products to our pipeline using our proprietary discovery technologies, but we’ll let others take our drugs to market. These could include big pharma, specialty pharma, and supportive care oncology companies.”

Tosk Presents Jointly with NCI on kRAS Project at Research Meeting in San Diego

December 11, 2018

Tosk Presents Jointly with NCI on kRAS Project at Research Meeting in San Diego

Tosk, Inc., announced today a joint presentation with the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Frederick National Laboratory and the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center (TTHSC) at a meeting this week in San Diego, CA. The meeting, entitled “Targeting RAS-Driven Cancers,” was sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The presentation was entitled “kRAS and Metabolism: An Interesting Interplay.”

Mutations in the human kRAS gene drive 90% of pancreatic cancers, 45% of colon cancers, and 35% of lung cancers. Patients with certain mutated kRAS genes also do not benefit from treatment with a widely-used class of cancer drugs known as EGFR inhibitors, such as Erbitux®. An effective inhibitor of mutated kRAS would address these unmet medical needs and provide an important, new treatment for cancer.

Tosk features proprietary discovery technology using the common fruit fly to discover potential kRAS-inhibiting drugs. This discovery platform uses fruit files with a mutated human kRAS gene integrated into their genome, causing the fly’s wings to be crimped. Tosk screens for drugs which reverse this wing crimping by inhibiting the protein produced by the mutated kRAS gene.

The presentation discussed how a small molecule discovered by Tosk, partially restored normal wing development in the kRAS mutated flies and inhibited growth and signal transduction in multiple, oncogenic kRAS-driven cell lines. The goal of the successful collaboration between Tosk, NCI’s Frederick Laboratory, and TTHSC was to establish the mechanism-of-action of the discovered inhibitor. The work at Tosk and TTHSC was funded by an SBIR grant from NCI.

Dr. William Garland, Vice President of Research and Development at Tosk stated, “This innovative work on the discovered inhibitor provided important information on the previously, not fully appreciated, interplay between mutated kRAS and a metabolic process. The information gained will help future work at Tosk. The results demonstrate the power of collaboration among a small research company, academia, and a large public research institute. None of the groups alone could have achieved the advance reported in our joint presentation.”