Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) are the mainstay of early treatment in a number of hematologic malignancies – such as multiple myeloma and lymphomas. The primary first line agent, Revlimid® (lenalidomide), dominates the IMiD market in the US with global revenues expected to reach $ 12 billion in 2020. 

STAR-LLD uses a novel treatment modality of continuous delivery of low-dose lenalidomide. The use of continuous delivery of lenalidomide allows for lower peaks and higher troughs which provide therapeutic blood levels for the entirety of the dosing interval whereas once-daily oral dosing is associated with sub-therapeutic blood levels of lenalidomide during each days’ dosing. Importantly, the total daily exposure is 55-70% lower than once-daily oral administration with a resultant AUC which is similarly lower than oral therapy. The expected result of this “flattening of the curve” of the blood levels is better tolerability through lower exposure and improved efficacy through continuous maintenance of the minimum inhibitory concentration of the treatment interval. 

Starton conducted a proof of concept study in a mouse model, in the study the STAR-LLD continuous infusion displayed superior efficacy versus lenalidomide standard of care: tumor volume increase at day 29 was 483% with standard of care versus an -81% reduction in tumor volume in the STAR-LLD group. Progression-free survival was also significantly increased in the continuous infusion group, STAR-LLD had the longest survival with two animals surviving to 100 days, where all animals treated with lenalidomide standard of care had failed treatment by day 52.

These preliminary data support the premise that the administration of a continuous, lower dose of an anti-tumor drug results in better tumor response and no additional toxicity, Starton is advancing two continuous delivery formulations towards the clinic: subcutaneous (SC) and transdermal delivery system (TDS).

Starton intends to conduct a Phase 1/2 clinical studies in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and multiple myeloma (MM) with three arms. Starton intends to follow a 505(b)2 regulatory path for pre-clinical development of STAR-LLD, and intends to conduct a full clinical program in its target indications.