Healthcare Industry News:  AQ4N 

Biopharmaceuticals Oncology

 News Release - April 12, 2006

Novacea Initiates Pivotal Phase 3 Clinical Study of DN-101 in Men With Advanced Prostate Cancer Website Launched Today

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--Apr 12, 2006 -- Novacea, Inc. today announced the initiation of ASCENT-2, its pivotal Phase 3 clinical study evaluating the combination of the Company's novel oral anti-cancer agent, DN-101, and Taxotere® (docetaxel) in men with prostate cancer for whom hormonal therapy is no longer working, also known as androgen-independent prostate cancer (AIPC).

This randomized, controlled, multi-national study is seeking to enroll approximately 900 patients at over 125 medical centers in the United States, Europe, and Canada. Patients, or physicians interested in referring a qualified patient, can now go to, which was launched today to facilitate trial awareness and enrollment.

According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men with approximately 232,100 new cases and 30,400 deaths in the United States in 2005. The mortality from this disease is expected to rise significantly with the aging of the "baby boomer" generation. The Prostate Cancer Foundation forecasts that without new interventions the number of deaths from prostate cancer in the United States will grow to approximately 68,000 annually by 2025.

"Results from the 250-patient Phase 2 ASCENT clinical study showed that DN-101 appeared to improve survival while reducing some of the serious side effects of chemotherapy," said Howard Scher, M.D., Chairman of the ASCENT-2 study and Chief of the Genitourinary Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "The ASCENT-2 Phase 3 trial is designed to determine if this regimen can improve outcomes for patients with advanced prostate cancer."

DN-101 is Novacea's proprietary oral, dose-intense formulation of calcitriol and the most potent ligand for the vitamin D receptor (VDR). DN-101 works by binding to VDR, which subsequently triggers cellular pathways that may stop cancer cell growth, leading to cancer cell death. DN-101 results in higher therapeutic blood levels than those achieved with previous forms of calcitriol. DN-101 can safely deliver high, pharmacologically effective peak blood concentrations of calcitriol without inducing clinically significant hypercalcemia.

ASCENT-2 Study Details

The ASCENT-2 (AIPC Study of Calcitriol ENhancing Taxotere) trial is designed to evaluate DN-101 in combination with Taxotere versus the currently approved regimen of Taxotere for prostate cancer (i.e. docetaxel 75 mg/m˛Q3W; prednisone 5 mg bid dosed every three weeks). Study participants randomized to the investigational arm will receive 45 µg of DN-101 on day one and a 36 mg/m˛ IV of Taxotere on day two repeated weekly for three of four weeks. The primary endpoint of the study is survival. Skeletal-related events and reduction of thromboembolic events such as deep vein thrombosis will be measured as secondary endpoints.

In addition to Dr. Scher, the study's co-chairs are Ronald De Wit, M.D. of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Kim Chi, M.D. of Vancouver Cancer Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

About Prostate Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that one in six American men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime. If detected early, however, treatment can be highly effective. Until recently, late-stage treatment options have been extremely limited, including palliative radiotherapy and, in some patients, palliative chemotherapy. In May 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Taxotere for the treatment of patients with advanced, metastatic prostate cancer on the basis of improved survival over the previously approved palliative chemotherapy regimen.

About Novacea

Novacea, Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on in-licensing, developing and commercializing novel therapies for the treatment of cancer. Novacea's in-licensed product development programs include three clinical-stage oncology product candidates. The Company has one product candidate, DN-101, which is in a Phase 3 clinical trial for prostate cancer and a second product candidate, vinorelbine oral, which is expected to enter into a registration program during the second half of 2006 for the treatment of breast cancer. Novacea's third product candidate, AQ4N, is expected to advance into a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in the second half of 2006 for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme. For more information, visit

Source: Novacea

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