PRESS RELEASE: Focal Medical Complete Development of a Therapeutic System to Deliver Gemcitabine Directly to the Pancreas
Successful completion of development of a precision therapeutic system designed to safely achieve high concentration…
RALEIGH, N.C. (November 1, 2022): Focal Medical, Inc. (formerly Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies, Inc.), a privately held, biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic products based on its innovative local drug delivery technology platform, today announced the appointment of Michael Aldridge as the Company’s new Chief Executive Officer. Michael joins Focal Medical with more than 25 years of experience in the biopharma industry. He succeeds Tony Voiers, who assumes the role of Chief Operating Officer.
Focal Medical is the new name of Advanced Chemotherapy Technologies. Focal Medical’s corporate rebranding is a function of a strategic shift towards broader product applications of its targeted drug delivery technology. To date, Focal Medical has raised over $20 million in equity and grant funding. Institutional investors include Khosla Ventures, Spectrum Financial and Piedmont Capital Partners.
Focal Medical’s patented iontophoresis delivery system enables the internal, site-specific, active delivery of drugs directly and selectively to diseased target tissue or organs. The technology thus addresses the significant challenges and limitations of traditional (primarily oral and intravenous) systemic drug delivery approaches including toxicity and first-pass metabolism.
Focal Medical’s lead product candidate uses its patented iontophoresis system for the local delivery of gemcitabine (an FDA approved chemotherapeutic) actively and directly to the tumor to treat advanced unresectable pancreatic cancer. In preclinical studies, 100% of pancreatic cancer tumors treated with gemcitabine using the system shrunk by an average of 40%, while tumors treated with intravenous gemcitabine grew an average of 140%i. Focal Medical expects to file an IND with the FDA and initiate its first clinical trial in 2023.
Focal Medical’s pipeline expansion plans include products targeting other inoperable solid tumors and products utilizing its innovative technology to deliver gene therapy drugs.
“As we prepare for our first clinical trial in pancreatic cancer and progress exciting new research in treating additional solid tumors and genomics medicine products, the future is very promising,” commented Joseph M. DeSimone, Focal Medical Founder and Non-executive Chairman.
“To position ourselves to leverage the extraordinary value of this platform technology, I am excited to announce the new company name, Focal Medical, as well as our new CEO, Michael Aldridge. Michael brings a great breadth of experience to the position, having led successful life science startups and growth stage companies including Peplin, Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Codexis, and most recently Hexima. I’d also like to thank Tony Voiers for his service as CEO these past six years and for his future service as COO,” he continued.
“I’m thrilled and humbled to be joining the Focal Medical team as CEO,” added Aldridge. “The team has been outstanding, demonstrating the potential of Focal Medical’s local drug delivery platform and we are well positioned to take a giant leap forward into new product opportunities. I’m excited to lead the Company into a new era of innovative therapeutic products based on Focal Medical’s energy-based delivery platform particularly in oncology and gene therapy.”
“I’m extremely proud of the progress we have made on our local drug delivery platform to bring us to this point, and I’m excited to be working with Michael to lead the growth and development of Focal Medical into our next chapter,” commented Voiers.
About Focal Medical
Focal Medical, Inc. is a privately held, biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic products based on its innovative and patent protected local drug delivery technology platform. Focal Medical’s patented iontophoresis delivery system enables the internal, site-specific delivery of therapeutics actively, directly, and selectively to the diseased target tissue or organ. The technology thus addresses certain significant challenges and limitations of traditional systemic drug delivery approaches including toxicity and first-pass metabolism. Focal Medical’s lead product uses its patented iontophoresis system for the local delivery of gemcitabine (an FDA approved chemotherapeutic) actively and directly to the tumor to treat pancreatic cancer. Focal Medical is expanding its product focus into therapies for other solid tumors and gene therapy products, all utilizing its innovative energy-based drug delivery system.
Focal Medical’ Board includes Joseph M. DeSimone Ph.D, Founder, the Sanjiv Sam Gambhir Professor of Translational Medicine and Chemical Engineering at Stanford University, Jen Jen Yeh, M.D. Founder, Professor, Departments of Surgery and Pharmacology, Vice Chair of Research Department of Surgery and Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence at the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina School of Medicine and Paula Hammond, Institute Professor and Department Head Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, along with Mr. Aldridge and Mr. Voiers.
About Pancreatic Cancer
The annual incidence of pancreatic cancer in the US is 62,000. Following diagnosis, pancreatic cancer has a 5-year survival rate of only 11%ii. Treatment primarily consists of intravenous chemotherapy (FOLFIRINOX or Gemcitabine plus Abraxane). On diagnosis, only 15% of patients are eligible for surgical removal of the tumor. The average per patient cost of care is $280,433 in the first year of treatment and $312,077 in the second yeariii.
iii 2020 GI Cancers Symposium: Cost of Pancreatic Cancer Care Over Time – The ASCO Post