Eleven Biotherapeutics Changes Name to Sesen Bio to Reflect Commitment to Oncology Therapies
By Alex Keown
This morning Stephen Hurly, president and chief executive officer of the newly dubbed Sesen Bio, said the name change reflects the “incredible transformation” the company has undergone over the past several years. He said the new name of Sesen Bio reinforces the company’s evolution and its “focused commitment” to the development of oncology drugs.
“Sesen, an ancient symbol of the lotus flower, represents life and our mission to bring forward medicines that will improve and preserve the lives of those with devastating cancers,” Hurly said in a statement.
With a new name also comes a new ticker symbol for the Nasdaq Exchange. Today is the last day the company will trade under the symbol EBIO. Beginning May 17, the company will trade under the new ticker symbol SESN. The new website for Sesen Bio is www.sesenbio.com.
Two years ago Eleven Biotherapeutics was struggling. In June 2016 the company initiated a restructuring strategy that included the termination of 70 percent of its workforce. However, later that year, boosted by an infusion of millions of dollars in cash from a deal with Roche, the company was able to give itself a strong position in the oncology market following its acquisition of Canadian-based Viventia Bio Inc. The deal gave Eleven, now Sesen, two oncology candidates, Vicinium and Proxinium.
Vicinium, a next-generation antibody-drug conjugate, is in a Phase III clinical trial for high grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC). Vicinium was developed using the company’s proprietary Targeted Protein Therapeutics platform. The therapy is comprised of a recombinant fusion protein that targets epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) antigens on the surface of tumor cells to deliver a potent protein payload, Pseudomonas Exotoxin A. Topline data from the Phase III trial is expected in the first half of 2018. Preliminary data is expected to be released next week at the American Urological Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco. Twelve-month data is anticipated in mid-2019, the company said.
The other agent acquired in the deal, Proxinium, entered Phase II development in early 2017 for the treatment of late-stage squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Proxinium received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency, as well as Fast Track designation from the FDA.
In addition to the name change Eleven, Sesen, announced two appointments, Hagop Youssoufian, as senior medical advisor and Madhu Anant as vice president of regulatory affairs.
Hurly said the additions of Youssoufian and Anant strengthens the company’s leadership team and drug development capabilities as they focus on bringing Vicinium through Phase III development for high-grade non-muscle invasive bladder cancer and eye potential regulatory approval.
“2018 is set to be a significant year for Sesen Bio, as we are well on our way to achieving our vision and bettering the lives of people in need,” Hurly said in a statement.