Qrono Awarded Phase II SBIR Contract from the National Cancer Institute to Advance Novel Targeted Loco-Regional Chemotherapy Delivery Platform (QARRUS™)

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QARRUS™ passively targets the delivery of chemotherapy to tumors, CSCs and their supporting TAMs, and MDSCs.

Qrono Inc.

Qrono Inc.

We believe that QARRUS™ can transform chemotherapy from an intervention that affects the whole body into one that works exclusively on cancer.

Qrono Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on long-acting injectables (LAIs), today announced that it has been awarded a $1.5M contract to advance development of Qrono’s QARRUS™ platform by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We are pleased to be among the organizations selected to receive a Phase II Contract,” said Larry Zana, CEO. “Qrono has dedicated itself to the mission of improving cancer therapy with novel polymer-based formulations. We believe that QARRUS™ can transform chemotherapy from an intervention that affects the whole body into one that works exclusively on cancer. We are very excited about the recognition and support provided by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.”

Cancer survival rates have changed little in the past two decades, highlighting a clear need for improved treatment options. Many promising chemotherapeutic candidates fail to gain FDA approval due to adverse outcomes discovered in pre-clinical development or in human clinical trials. The high annual attrition rate of these chemotherapeutics is often attributable to dose-related toxicity.

Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) accounts for approximately 50,000 new cases annually in the US and nearly 600,000 new cases worldwide. Our proprietary simulation-driven formulation design approach supports finely tailored pharmacokinetics for both single agents and chemotherapy combinations.

QARRUS™ is a novel microparticle-hydrogel platform that targets chemotherapy to tumors and the tumor microenvironment (TME), including cancer stem cells (CSCs) and their supporting tumor associated macrophages (TAMs), and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). QARRUS’ mathematically-optimized microparticles sustain six weeks or more of chemotherapeutic drug delivery in a single injection that directly eliminates these key cells.

This Phase II SBIR contract will enable Qrono to conduct toxicity and biodistribution studies in mice with oral tumors, and then determine the efficacy of QR206 in patient cats with oral squamous cell carcinoma. Thus far the Company has achieved several important preclinical milestones funded by the National Institutes of Health, including development of a QARRUS™ formulation for Epothilone D, and in a series of xenograft mice studies, demonstrating six weeks of drug delivery and elevated drug concentration in tumor and regional tissues ten-fold over baseline, leading directly to a four-fold reduction in tumor volume over four weeks (relative to controls). This QARRUS™ formulation also maintained systemic drug levels five times below the clinical threshold for dose limiting toxicity.

QARRUS™ offers a platform for loco-regional delivery that can rescue failed chemotherapeutics and enable their therapeutic potential. QARRUS™ could be readily applied to other commonly used chemotherapeutic drugs, such as paclitaxel, cisplatin, and doxorubicin, and other indications, such as melanoma. QARRUS™ could also have added benefit as an adjuvant therapy for HNSCC patients undergoing radiation therapy since most other available chemotherapies are too toxic for use in these chemoradiation treatments.

This project is funded in whole or in part with Federal Funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN261201600028C. One hundred percent of the total cost of the program, $1.5M, is funded by Federal Funds, and zero percent (0%) is funded by nongovernmental sources.

About Qrono: Qrono reformulates FDA approved drug products and creates new, long-acting injectable (LAI) medications with improved clinical and economic benefits. Qrono’s product pipeline focuses on therapeutic areas where LAIs offer high therapeutic and economic value, such as addressing high non-adherence or solving specific drug delivery challenges. The company uses its computational drug delivery technology, called QronoMetrics™, to design LAIs significantly faster than legacy practice and with reduced clinical and technical risk.

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Larry Zana
Qrono, Inc.
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