In June 2017, Phoenix Molecular Designs(PMD), a Canadian biotech company working on a breast cancer therapy, announced it was expanding to San Diego during World Trade Center San Diego’s Trade Mission to Vancouver. Over two years later, PMD- which now has an outpost at JLabs – is now one step closer to bringing its life-saving treatment to market. And it’s happening because of PMD’s clinical work in San Diego.
Phoenix Molecular Designs’ therapy is developed to treat triple-negative breast cancer. This aggressive form of cancer is often likely to become metastatic, and has a poorer prognosis than other forms of breast cancer. In 2019, nearly 270,000 individuals will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US alone. Up to 20 percent of those new cases – over 50,000 – are estimated to be the triple-negative type.
But thanks to PMD, there’s a new form of hope.
The company has officially entered Phase 1/1b clinical trials for PMD-026 with the FDA, meaning they are able to administer the drugs to their first patients.
“Dosing the first patient in this newly initiated clinical trial is a paramount milestone for PhoenixMD,” said Andrew Dorr, M.D., chief medical officer of Phoenix Molecular Designs. “We believe PMD-026 to be a promising new approach to treat advanced breast cancer and we look forward to building upon this momentum in the pursuit of a potential treatment option for individuals living with advanced forms of breast cancer.”
International partnerships take time
When World Trade Center San Diego – EDC’s international affiliate – set its sights on Vancouver in 2017 for its first international trade mission, it was in hopes of spurring international partnerships in the life sciences and clean technologies sectors.
WTCSD first met Dr. Sandra Dunn, CEO of Phoenix Molecular Designs, when the international BIO convention was in town in 2017. After a quick conversation, it was clear that in order to meet their lofty goal of bringing a treatment to market, Phoenix Molecular Designs needed to expand somewhere in the U.S. with a strong biotech sector and access to top-tier clinical talent.
A few weeks later, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer, World Trade Center San Diego, and a delegation of 20 senior-level San Diego leaders were in PMD’s board room in Richmond – right outside of Vancouver – helping the company plan its expansion.
Today, PMD’s presence has grown to nearly 15 employees in San Diego and with the latest funding round, may see additional growth. And its engaged other companies along the way. PMD has partnered with WuXi STA, another international company with a presence in San Diego, to develop and manufacture PMD-026.
At a time of mounting global uncertainty, it is important that San Diego continues to show up in international markets and forge partnerships. The next life-saving treatment is out there, and if San Diego’s regional track record is any indication, we may play a part in bringing it to the world.