Guest: Dr. Frank Hermann
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Frank Hermann, M.D., is pediatrician by training with several years as resident/research associate in pediatric oncology, hematology and radiology at the University Clinic of Giessen and Marburg. He earned his medical degree from the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He has a strong background in clinical research, development and medical affairs in oncology. He joined 4SC in June 2016 as Medical Director Clinical Development after several years in medical affairs and clinical research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, most recently as Associate Medical Director Immuno-Oncology.
Segment overview: Dr. Frank Hermann talks about 4SC, a company specialized in developing epigenetic drugs to treat cancer in monotherapy and to enhance immune-oncology approaches in combination therapy.
Health Professional Radio – 4SC
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard for this Health Supplier Segment of the show, thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio is Dr. Frank Hermann, he comes to the conversation with a very strong background and clinical research, development and medical affairs on oncology. Now he joined 4SC just this year as Medical Director of Clinical Development after many years in Medical Affairs and Clinical Research at Bristol-Myers Squibb and he’s here today to talk with us about 4SC. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Dr. Hermann.
Dr. Frank Hermann: Hello everybody! This is Frank Hermann speaking, I’m very excited to be in the show and give you a little bit of background and information about our research, our clinical trials and yeah, thank you very much for the invitation.
N: Well as Medical Director of 4SC, tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be associated with this company?
H: So my background, I’m a medical doctor by training. I’m a pediatrician and with a couple of years …in pediatric oncology before I joined Bristol-Myers Squibb as an Associate Medical Director. What excites me about 4SC is that this is a new biotech company but it has very interesting assets and so to proceed in bringing on the genetic drugs to further development from the clinical development is very exciting to me and so I decided to take this opportunity and it’s an extraordinary things and I’m really excited to proceed.
N: Now tell our listeners about epigenetic therapies that you’re involved in. Why the epigenetic space has been getting the attention in the research community that it has of late?
H: Yeah, absolutely. Epigenetic is a very, very interesting field so I think everybody knows about the DNA and genetics, but the DNA is not all because if you imagine that in one body we have the DNA is identical in all cells but the cells are different and these are epigenetic cells, it regulates the gene activity and so all to the activity of cancer cells and our goal is to target epigenetic changes and so to be a relevant part in the future of oncology treatment and we know that epigenetic modification plays a critical role in different cancer types in oncology but also hematology and so we see a future in epigenetic treatment.
N: Do you see faster developments in the oncology side or the hematology side?
H: So the epigenetics field is already in the clinical hematology. But I also see a future in the solid tumor indication and our clinical focus currently is in solid tumor Cutaneous T cell lymphoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. But this is a mode of action which is not limited to indications, I can also see an expansion in the future to other indications, either in oncology but also hematology.
N: So you’re also into developing drugs, you come from a pharmaceutical background with Bristol-Myers Squibb and that research and development department. Talk about some of the developing products that 4SC is involved in.
H: Yes, so we have our lead compound, so we are focused on clinical development of epigenetic drugs, our lead compound is a Resminostat. Resminostat is an Histone Deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. And our second compound we bring to the clinic is the 4SC-202, which is a DNA inhibitor of epigenetic modification, so it’s an LSD1 and HDAC inhibitor. And we are currently working on bringing this to Phase 2 study especially in combination with HDAC inhibitor because we see the potential to even improve the efficacy of HDAC inhibitors by epigenetic modulation.
N: In what areas of the world are these epigenetic therapies more readily available and/or accepted in your experience?
H: So talking about the hematologic or hematology as I said being established hematology worldwide. When we talk about the special indication of cutaneous T cell lymphoma, Resminostat and HDAC are established treatment in the U.S. So they approved first CTCL … in patients while this is not in Europe. Our clinical study, the main study is investigating a very interesting treatment paradigm. It’s a maintenance study and with this study we think we can create data and maybe learn the first HDAC inhibitor to the patients in Europe but also could extend this to other regions in the world.
N: Is this an extremely expensive therapy?
H: So what do you mean by expensive? The development cost or the cost of the drug?
N: The cost of the drug as far as when in it is actually going to be administered to potential patients. Is this something that is readily available to the average consumer or is this something that can’t be gauged as of yet?
H: So it’s currently in the development phase so we have started the study on cutaneous T cell lymphoma which is a … study. We’re currently evaluating the chances to set up a … study also in hepatocellular carcinoma. So far this is the late stage development but not available for patients so far.
N: So when can we expect availability?
H: The trial has already started. So we have a site open in Europe but we expect to headline date published in 2019. Cutaneous T cell lymphoma is in often … disease, it’s not and so the recruitment period, the strategies in …to patients will take up to 2 years, but we expect to have the results of this exciting study in 2019 and of course our plan is to bring this drug also to the patients as soon as possible in Europe but also in other regions of the world.
N: Now where can our listeners go and get some more information about your company 4SC as well as cutaneous T cell lymphoma therapies and other epigenetic treatments that you’re involved in?
H: A lot of information, you can get on our website. Our website is 4sc.com, you can find information in German but also English language about our development, about our pipeline. For my recommendation to learn more about epigenetics but also cutaneous T cell lymphoma, I would always recommend to go webpages of the society, so there are well known societies in the U.S, in Europe but also other areas of the world where you can get more information about specific indications and also treatment options. So I will recommend to go this way and learn more about 4SC, we’ll be very happy to have visitors on our webpage, as I said 4sc.com.
N: Thank you so much. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard for this Health Supplier Segment of the show. In studio with Dr. Frank Hermann Medical Director of Clinical Development at 4SC, he’s been here discussing this company 4SC and some of the groundbreaking technology that they’re in involved in. Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast in iTunes.