New product delivers for Sonus

  • Mike Benbow / Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, October 31, 2001 9:00pm
  • Business

By Mike Benbow

Herald Writer

BOTHELL — The stock price of Sonus Pharmaceuticals vaulted 46 percent over the past two days on news that its new drug delivery system may boost the effectiveness of Taxol, a popular cancer fighter.

Shares in Sonus, which lost 20 cents on Monday to close at $3.90, closed at $4.75 Tuesday and at $5.70 Wednesday, hitting a 52-week high.

Interest in the Bothell biotechnology company skyrocketed Tuesday with the release of early information from phase one tests involving S-8184, an injectable formula using the company’s Toscol drug delivery technology.

Results of the early tests show that cancer patients could take more of the active ingredient in Taxol with fewer adverse reactions when it was injected with S-8184, the company reported.

Taxol is the world’s leading cancer-fighting drug.

"We believe S-8184 may have the ability to improve cancer therapy by delivering higher, more effective and less toxic doses of paclitaxel (the active ingredient), and we are eager to confirm these potential benefits in further clinical studies," said Michael Martino, president and chief executive of Sonus.

Results of the study are being presented this week at the International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics this week in Miami, Fla., and next week at the Chemotherapy Foundation Symposium in New York City.

The company said it focused on 15 patients with a variety of cancers and found that the drug could be administered as a rapid injection, rather than through the usual three-hour Taxol infusion. The drug-delivery system appears to allow larger doses, although a maximum dose hasn’t been determined, the company said.

It also reported fewer side effects, saying two patients showed a decrease in white blood cells, but none displayed a numbness of the hands and feet associated with other methods.

Sonus is still enrolling patients in the phase one study, focusing on maximum tolerated doses. It hopes to initiate later-stage clinical trials early next year.

You can call Herald Writer Mike Benbow at 425-339-3459

or send e-mail to benbow@heraldnet.com.

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