The wide variety of applications that LDE-225 is being tested for indicates that hedgehog pathway inhibitors could be used for an ever wide variety of purposes. Exelixis, which discovered XL139 (BMS-833923), a small molecule inhibitor of SMO (a component of the hedgehog signaling pathway), licensed the compound to Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY). Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) is now testing XL139 in a phase 1b trial in combination with dasatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibiting leukemia drug, for the treatment of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.
Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) has been followed by Pfizer, which also has an experimental hedgehog pathway inhibitor, PF-04449913, undergoing phase 1 trials for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. These leukemia treatments from Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) and Pfizer could further improve the quality of life for leukemia patients. Over the past decade, leukemia patients have been helped significantly by tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as dasatinib, which have eliminated or reduced the need for traditional chemotherapy.
The Foolish bottom line
It’s clear that the approval of Erivedge has piqued other pharmaceutical companies’ interest in the hedgehog signaling pathway. New drugs from Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS), Bristol Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY), and Pfizer might be the dawn of a new age of cancer treatments.
Although Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS) is still unprofitable, the company is edging closer to profitability and has a robust lead product. In addition to Erivedge, Curis also has other lucrative drugs in its pipeline. One of these treatments is CUDC-247, which inhibits the IAP proteins which can help cancer cells survive. The other two treatments are CUDC-907 for myeloma and lymphoma, and Debio 0932 for advanced lung cancer.
Although Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS) is still a tiny player in the biotech world, it has created a fascinating new treatment backed by the world’s largest oncology treatment company, Roche. That makes Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ:CRIS) and the hedgehog pathway inhibitors that it has developed a lucrative area that biotech investors should keep a close eye on.
The article Can Stopping This Hedgehog Create New Cancer Treatments? originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Leo Sun.
Leo Sun has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
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