CNS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: CNSP) is a clinical stage biotechnology company specializing in the development of novel treatments for primary and metastatic cancers of the brain and central nervous system.
The company was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Organ Targeted Therapeutics
The company’s lead drug candidate, Berubicin, is proposed for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (“GBM”), an aggressive and incurable form of brain cancer. Berubicin also has potential to treat other central nervous system malignancies. Based on limited clinical data, Berubicin appears to be the first anthracycline to cross the blood brain barrier in the adult brain, and it was the subject of a successful Phase 1 study which found the MDT and produced efficacy data as well.
CNS holds a worldwide exclusive license to the Berubicin chemical compound. The company has acquired all requisite data and know-how from Reata Pharmaceuticals Inc. related to a completed Phase I clinical trial of Berubicin in malignant brain tumors. In this trial, 44% of patients experienced a statistically significant improvement in clinical benefit. In 2017, CNS entered into a collaboration and asset purchase agreement with Reata.
CNS intends to explore the potential of Berubicin to treat other diseases, including pancreatic and ovarian cancers and lymphoma. The company is also examining plans to develop combination therapies that include Berubicin.
CNS estimates that more than $25 million in private capital and grants were invested in Berubicin prior to the company’s $9.8 million IPO in November 2019.
CNS intends to submit an IND for Berubicin during the fourth quarter of 2020 and expects to commence a Phase II clinical trial of Berubicin for the treatment of GBM in the U.S. in Q1 2021. A sub-licensee partner was awarded a $6 million EU/Polish National Center for Research and Development grant to undertake a Phase II trial of Berubicin in adults and a first-ever Phase I trial in pediatric GBM patients in Poland in 2021.
The company’s second drug candidate, WP1244, is a novel DNA binding agent licensed from the MD Anderson Cancer Center. In preclinical studies, WP1244 proved to be 500-times more potent than the chemotherapeutic agent, daunorubicin, in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation. The company has entered into a sponsored research agreement with the MD Anderson Cancer Center to further the development of WP1244.
CNS Pharmaceuticals recently engaged U.S.-based Pharmaceutics International Inc. and Italian BSP Pharmaceuticals SpA for the production of the Berubicin drug product. The company has implemented a dual-track manufacturing strategy to mitigate COVID-19-related risks, diversify its supply chain and provide for localized availability of Berubicin. CNS has already completed synthesis of Berubicin’s active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and has shipped the API to both manufacturers in order to prepare an injectable form of Berubicin for clinical use.
Global Brain Tumor Therapeutics Market
The high recurrence rate of malignant brain tumors is due to reappearance of focal masses, indicating that a sub-population of tumor cells in these cancers may be insensitive to current therapies and may be responsible for reinitiating tumor growth. This necessitates the development of newer drugs in the market that demonstrate greater efficacy in treating such aggressive cancers.
A global increase in neurological disorders has placed increased attention on cancers of the brain over the past decade. Neurological disorders are becoming one of the most prevalent types of disorders, due to longer life expectancy, greater exposure to infection and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. Because few treatments for primary and metastatic cancers of the brain exist, costs are high and have acted as a restraint for the brain tumor therapeutics market.
Despite progress in surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapeutic strategies, effective treatments for brain cancer are limited by a lack of specific therapies for the brain and the difficulty in transporting therapeutic compounds across the blood brain barrier. Therefore, there is a significant need for novel and effective therapeutic drugs and strategies that prolong survival and improve quality of life for brain tumor patients.
Several companies are making significant investments into R&D, which is expected to bring more treatment options to the market in the near future. Industry reports consistently project continued growth in the market.
One report estimates that the global brain tumor therapeutics market will reach a valuation of $2.74 billion in 2023, with the market expected to register a CAGR of 11% during the forecast period from 2018 to 2023. Another report projects that the global brain tumor therapeutics market will reach $3.4 billion by 2025, up from $2.25 billion in 2019 (http://nnw.fm/eDUjp).
John M. Climaco is the CEO of CNS Pharmaceuticals. For 15 years, Climaco has served in leadership roles for a variety of health care companies. Recently, Climaco served as the Executive Vice President of Perma-Fix Medical S.A, where he managed the development of a novel method to produce Technitium-99. Climaco also served as President and CEO of Axial Biotech Inc., a DNA diagnostics company. In the process of taking Axial from inception to product development to commercialization, Climaco forged strategic partnerships with Medtronic, Johnson & Johnson and Smith & Nephew.
Christopher Downs, CPA, is the company’s Chief Financial Officer. Downs previously served as Interim Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of InfuSystem Holdings Inc. (NYSE: INFU), a supplier of infusion services to oncologists in the United States. Downs holds a Bachelor of Science from the United States Military Academy at West Point, an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master of Science in Accounting from the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Dr. Donald Picker is the Chief Scientific Officer of CNS. Picker has over 35 years of drug development experience. Prior to joining CNS, Picker worked at Johnson Matthey, where he was responsible for the development of Carboplatin, one of the world’s leading cancer drugs, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb with annual sales of over $500 million. In addition, he oversaw the development of Satraplatin and Picoplatin, third-generation platinum drugs currently in late-stage clinical development.
Sandra L. Silberman, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chief Medical Officer of CNS Pharmaceuticals. Silberman is a hematologist/oncologist who earned her B.A., Sc.M. and Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Arts and Sciences, School of Public Health and School of Medicine, respectively, and her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. She then completed both a clinical fellowship in hematology/oncology and a research fellowship in tumor immunology at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. Silberman has played key roles in the development of many drugs, including Gleevec(TM), for which she led the global clinical development at Novartis. Silberman advanced several original, proprietary compounds into Phases I through III during her work with leading biopharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Imclone and Roche.