A Phase 1/2 clinical trial of ZB131 is actively enrolling patients with advanced solid tumors

Charlottesville, Va., December 27, 2022 – ZielBio, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company discovering new treatments for cancer and other serious diseases through its innovative drug discovery platform, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Orphan Drug Designation to its lead program, ZB131, for the treatment of treatment of pancreatic cancer, a rare solid-tumor cancer originating from the pancreas. ZB131 is a proprietary monoclonal antibody with a high affinity and specificity for cancer-specific plectin (CSP), a cell surface protein identified in a wide range of cancers that correlates with poor prognosis and aggressive tumors, including pancreatic cancer. ZielBio previously received Orphan Drug Designation for ZB131 for the treatment of cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer).

“More than 62,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer each year and the five-year survival rate is only 11%,” said Kimberly Kelly, Ph.D., founder and president of ZielBio. “We appreciate the special status that the FDA has granted ZB131 with this Orphan Drug Designation for pancreatic cancer, which is typically diagnosed at an advanced stage with few effective treatment options.”

ZielBio developed ZB131 to target CSP after discovering that, unlike in healthy cells where plectin exists in the cytoplasm, plectin presents on the surface of cancer cells, where it functions as a driver of tumor growth and metastasis. In preclinical studies, ZB131 demonstrated high specific binding to CSP and strong anti-cancer activity. A Phase 1/2 trial is underway to study the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of ZB131 in patients with solid tumors, including cholangiocarcinoma, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers. Additional study details are available at clinicaltrials.gov with the trial identifier NCT05074472.

FDA Orphan Drug Designation may be granted to investigational drugs or biological products which show promise in treating rare medical diseases or conditions that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Certain benefits associated with Orphan Drug Designation encourage the continued development of medicines that bring novel solutions to underserved patients. Roughly 32,970 men and 29,240 women in the United States are diagnosed each year with pancreatic cancer.

About ZielBio

ZielBio is a clinical-stage biotechnology company that identifies novel disease targets and develops therapeutic interventions to improve patient outcomes. Its proprietary drug discovery platform combines the power of functional, high throughput screening with large content data analytics to identify high-value targets. ZielBio has a promising pipeline of therapies and targets, including novel lead asset ZB131 (proposed international nonproprietary name Ibentatug), a humanized monoclonal antibody against cancer-specific plectin.

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Sarah O’Connell

Verge Scientific Communications