CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Epizyme, Inc. (NASDAQ: EPZM), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company creating innovative personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically defined cancers, announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted a notice of allowance for U.S. Patent Application No. 13/722,807 with claims that cover methods of treating cancer with EZH2 inhibitors. The patent, entitled "Aryl-or Heteroaryl-Substituted Benzene Compounds," will expire in 2033.
"We continue to build and strengthen our intellectual property position, an important element of our overall product strategy," said Zoran Zdraveski Ph.D., J.D., Chief Patent Counsel, Epizyme. "When issued, this patent will cover claims directed to methods of treating cancer, including non-Hodgkin, follicular and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas, with small molecule EZH2 inhibitors including EPZ-6438."
Epizyme's small molecule inhibitor of EZH2, EPZ-6438 (E7438), is currently being developed in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors or relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma. In 2014, Epizyme plans to initiate two proof of concept studies with EPZ-6438, pending Phase 1 completion, one in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients with EZH2 point mutations and one in synovial sarcoma patients. EPZ-6438 is being developed in collaboration with Eisai Inc.
About EZH2 Cancers
EZH2 is a histone methyltransferase (HMT) that can become oncogenic due to genetic alterations and cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and solid tumors. Oncogenic EZH2 mutations are associated with two types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma of germinal-center origin, or DLBCL, and follicular lymphoma, or FL. Currently, there are no therapies approved specifically for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma associated with an EZH2 point mutation.
Epizyme and its partner Eisai are developing EPZ-6438, a small molecule inhibitor of EZH2 created with our proprietary product platform, for the treatment of non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients who have an oncogenic (cancer-causing) point mutation in EZH2. In many human cancers, misregulated EZH2 enzyme activity results in misregulation of genes that control cell proliferation — without these control mechanisms, cancer cells are free to grow rapidly.
Epizyme granted Eisai a worldwide license to EPZ-6438 (Eisai refers to this therapeutic candidate as E7438), subject to Epizyme's right to opt in for co-development, co-commercialization and profit share arrangement with Eisai in the United States. Epizyme is working with Roche and Eisai to develop a companion diagnostic to identify patients with non-wild type EZH2, where EZH2 contains point mutations. Additional information about these partnerships may be found here: http://www.epizyme.com/about-us/partnerships/
In June 2013, Epizyme and its partner Eisai initiated a Phase 1/2 clinical trial of EPZ-6438 in patients with advanced solid tumors or with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma. This program is currently in the dose escalation phase. The company believes EPZ-6438 is the second HMTi to enter human clinical development (following Epizyme's DOT1L inhibitor, EPZ-5676). Additional information about this program, including clinical trial information, may be found here: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01897571?term=7438&rank=1
About Epizyme, Inc.
Epizyme, Inc. is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company creating personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically defined cancers. Epizyme has built a proprietary product platform that the company uses to create small molecule inhibitors of a 96-member class of enzymes known as histone methyltransferases, or HMTs. HMTs are part of the system of gene regulation, referred to as epigenetics, that controls gene expression. Genetic alterations can result in changes to the activity of HMTs, making them oncogenic (cancer-causing). By focusing on the genetic drivers of cancers, Epizyme's targeted science seeks to match the right medicines with the right patients for a personalized approach to cancer treatment.
For more information, visit www.epizyme.com and connect with us on Twitter at @EpizymeRx.
Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements
Any statements in this press release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the Company, including statements about the Company's strategy, future operations, development of the Company's therapeutic candidates, and future expectations and plans and prospects for the Company and other statements containing the words "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may," "plan," "predict," "project," "target," "potential," "will," "would," "could," "should," "continue," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including: whether the patents and patent applications owned or licensed by the Company, such as the patent referred to in this release, will protect the Company's technology and prevent others from infringing it, the uncertainties inherent in the initiation of future clinical trials, expectations of expanding ongoing clinical trials, availability and timing of data from ongoing clinical trials, expectations for regulatory approvals, development progress of the Company's companion diagnostics, availability of funding sufficient for the Company's foreseeable and unforeseeable operating expenses and capital expenditure requirements, other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of the Company's therapeutic candidates or companion diagnostics, and other factors discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 28, 2014. In addition, the forward-looking statements included in this press release represent the Company's views as of the date hereof. The Company anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause the Company's views to change. However, while the Company may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, the Company specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing the Company's views as of any date subsequent to the date hereof.
SOURCE Epizyme, Inc.