Alessa Therapeutics




San Carlos, California
Prostate cancer is a significant burden for men, with about 160,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the US and affecting 1 in 6 men in their lifetimes. Current options to manage early-stage prostate cancer include either active surveillance (regular exams and biopsies) or immediate, whole-gland prostatectomy or radiation therapy. Immediate treatment can be curative for low-to-intermediate risk prostate cancer but exposes men to considerable risk of impotence and incontinence. Active surveillance is the least burdensome option but presents a risk of clinical progression and metastasis. There is a lack of an intermediate alternative that can reduce risk of disease progression but with fewer side effects than the existing treatment options. Alessa Therapeutics is developing a treatment that fills this large gap in current prostate cancer treatment options. Alessa’s product is an implantable, silicone-based device that delivers anti-androgen drugs locally to the prostate tissue. Implantation of the device is expected to be concurrent with routine biopsy of men diagnosed with prostate cancer and use a similar biopsy needle to insert the device. Alessa has shown sustained release of bicalutamide (an anti- androgen given systemically to treat prostate cancer) in vitro and conducted in vivo studies in mice to show efficacy and in dogs to show tissue specificity.

Dr. Pamela Munster (Professor, UCSF Department of Medicine; Director, Early Phase Clinical Trials Unit)

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