This collaboration will allow OncoSec to begin generating revenue, potentially as early as the fourth quarter of 2019. The ability to begin this process in Australia with TAVO sets OncoSec apart from other clinical-stage companies developing therapies for the treatment of refractory metastatic melanoma. TAVO will be the only drug available under the SAS program for melanoma patients who have failed checkpoint inhibitor or targeted therapy.
The SAS was introduced by Australia's Therapeutics Goods Administrations (TGA) in recognition that there are circumstances where patients need access to therapeutic products that are not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Australia's SAS allows physicians to prescribe and treat patients with drugs not yet approved in Australia provided those patients have a condition from which death is reasonably likely to occur within a matter of months, or from which premature death is reasonably likely to occur in the absence of early treatment. 1
In 2019, it is estimated that 15,229 new cases of melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (8,899 males and 6,330 females) and that it will become the ninth most common cause of death from cancer in 2019. TAVO, to be used for melanoma patients who have failed either checkpoint inhibitors or targeted therapy, could treat up to 1,000 Australian patients. 2
Chris Rossidis, Co-Founder and Head of Emerge's Commercial Operations stated, Australia has a very high melanoma rate with medical experts estimating that one Australian is affected by melanoma every five minutes because of the high intensity of the sun in this part of the world. Similar to our other successful collaborations with other companies, this new collaboration with OncoSec will help us achieve Emerge's underlying purpose of distributing products in selected therapeutic specialty areas and working to ensure all patients have access to these important and potentially life-saving medicines.
TAVO fits perfectly into the SAS program. As with other parts of the world, Australia has a very high prevalence of melanoma patients and a considerable number who fail all treatments, including checkpoint inhibitors and targeted therapies. This leaves a patient population in great need for an effective 'rescue' treatment. Based on the continued efficacy we are seeing in TAVO's clinical trials in metastatic melanoma, we appreciate the very important role that Emerge can play to potentially help these patients access TAVO treatment under the SAS program, said Daniel J. O'Connor, President and CEO of OncoSec.