Faron Pharma PLC (LON:FARN) said Part II of a trial for its precision cancer drug shows significant efficacy signals while it was also advised to increase the dosing frequency.

The Phase I/II MATINS clinical trial is investigating the tolerability, safety and preliminary efficacy of bexmarilimab, Faron’s wholly-owned novel precision cancer immunotherapy targeting Clever-1.

READ: Faron Pharma raises €15mln to ‘expand and accelerate’ work in the clinic

Clever-1 is a receptor known to be expressed on immunosuppressive macrophages (cells that engulf and destroy other cells).

In this trial, the AIM-listed firm is investigating bexmarilimab as a potential monotherapy in patients with solid tumours who have already tried all treatment options.

Monday’s update includes data from 67 Part II patients, showing a strong survival benefit with an 88% reduction of death among the ten patients that responded to therapy, compared to 57 non-responding ones.

The non-responding patients continued to show progressive disease and 48 of these died within the 100-day treatment period.

Within the same period, only one of the responding patients died and the median overall survival was not reached among these responders.

Responding patients showed a clear prolongation of progression-free survival, with a 93% reduction in the risk of disease progression.

Moreover, the study’s data monitoring committee (DMC) has suggested investigating more frequent dosing schedules in the people showing early clinical benefit.

The DMC also recommended that higher bexmarilimab doses should be further tested as part of the MATINS trial.

The potential of higher administration frequency at weekly and two-weekly intervals is already underway in patients with colorectal cancer, with results expected later this year.

The Finnish company said it expects to report further data from Part II cohorts in the second quarter of 2021 and the data will be presented at an upcoming international medical meeting.

“This is very exciting data supporting bexmarilimab’s unique mechanism of action and adding to the accumulating evidence of bexmarilimab’s broad potential across a range of hard-to-treat cancers,” said Faron’s chief executive Markku Jalkanen in a release.

“The early observations of survival benefit and the stark contrast in the progression of disease among patients who do not respond to bexmarilimab therapy show the clinical significance of Clever-1 as immunotherapy target and the potential patient benefit when its immune-suppressive control is removed.”

Analysts at Peel Hunt said this is “intriguing” data for bexmarilimab’s potential across a range of hard-to-treat cancers while the committee’s advice can potentially increase the number of patients that might benefit from the treatment.

Shares surged 21% to 379p early on Monday.

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