Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals Initiates Phase 1 Trial of CPI-613® (devimistat) in Combination with Chemoradiation for the Treatment of Advanced Pancreatic Cancer

Clinical program advancement represents key milestone for Cornerstone underscoring its commitment to the development of lead compound, devimistat, in pancreatic cancer

Cranbury, Sept. 28, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

September 28, 2022 – Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a company focused on rare cancer therapeutics and formerly known as Rafael Pharmaceuticals, today announced the initiation of a Phase 1 clinical trial evaluating CPI-613® (devimistat) in combination with chemoradiation for the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. Devimistat is the company’s first-in-class lead compound designed to target enzymes that are involved in cancer cell energy metabolism found within the mitochondria of cancer cells.

“The initiation of this Phase 1 trial is an important milestone for Cornerstone and demonstrates our continued commitment to exploring the potential of devimistat as a novel pancreatic cancer treatment,” said Sanjeev Luther, President and CEO of Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals. “Locally advanced pancreatic cancer is a difficult-to-treat disease associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality and current standards of care have significant limitations. We believe devimistat has the potential to address an unmet need for safer and more effective treatment options for this devastating disease.”

The Phase 1 trial is an open-label, dose-escalation study being conducted at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. The objective of the study is to determine the maximum tolerated dose and safety profile of devimistat when used concomitantly with gemcitabine and intensity-modulated radiation (Gem-RT) therapy in adult patients with locally advanced unresectable or metastatic pancreatic cancer. The study will evaluate increasing doses of CPI-613, in combination with Gem-RT therapy, beginning with doses of 500 mg/m^2 and up to 1,500 mg/m^2. The study will enroll up to 24 patients who will receive treatment with devimistat once per week via intravenous infusion.

“A hallmark of pancreatic cancer, as well as other cancers, is the pathological reprogramming of cellular metabolism and enhanced mitochondrial function, which can both prevent the efficacy of standard of care therapies and lead to therapeutic resistance,” said Mandana Kamgar, M.D., Assistant Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Principal Investigator for the study. “In previous studies, devimistat has demonstrated low toxicity with a unique mechanism of action that can preferentially target cancer cell energy metabolism. In our pre-clinical studies, done in collaboration with Dr. Asfar Azmi at Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, we have found that devimistat can act as a potent chemo- and radio-sensitizer in pancreatic cancer models. The combination of devimistat with chemoradiation could potentially lead to significant improvements in local control of pancreatic cancer with minimal added toxicity.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted an orphan drug designation for devimistat in pancreatic cancer. Devimistat has also received an orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in pancreatic cancer.

To learn more about the clinical trial program, please visit, using the identifier NCT05325281.

About Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in the United States with median overall survival of less than 12 months, according to the American Cancer Society. Local tumor progression is the leading cause of hospitalization for those with unresectable pancreatic cancer, a substantial contributor to morbidity, and responsible for mortality in approximately one-third of patients.

About CPI-613 (Devimistat)
Cornerstone’s first-in-class lead clinical compound, CPI-613 (devimistat), is a selective mitochondrial metabolism inhibitor which targets enzymes that are involved in cancer cell energy metabolism and are located in the mitochondria of cancer cells. Devimistat is designed to target the mitochondrial tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, a process essential to tumor cell multiplication and survival, selectively in cancer cells. Devimistat substantially increases cellular stress and the sensitivity of cancer cells to a diverse range of chemotherapeutic agents. This synergy allows for potential combinations of devimistat with lower doses of these generally toxic drugs to be more effective with lower patient side effects. Combination therapy with devimistat has the potential to offer a diverse range of opportunities to substantially improve patient outcomes across many different cancers.

About Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Cornerstone Pharmaceuticals is committed to the development of therapies for rare cancers that have few to no treatment options available. Cornerstone’s lead compound, CPI-613® (devimistat), is designed to target the mitochondria of cancer cells in order to disrupt their energy production, cutting off the fuel for disease growth. Devimistat is undergoing multiple clinical trials and has been granted orphan drug designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the following indications: Burkitt’s lymphoma, biliary tract cancer, soft tissue sarcoma, myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), pancreatic cancer and peripheral T-cell lymphoma. In addition, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has granted orphan drug designation to devimistat for pancreatic cancer and Burkitt’s lymphoma.

With science stemming from the world’s most renowned institutions and compassion that runs deep, Cornerstone strives to improve the lives of people with rare cancers, inaugurating a new era of hope. For more information, please visit

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or the company’s future financial performance. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “may”, “will”, “should”, “expect”, “plan”, “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “predict”, “potential” or “continue”, the negative of such terms, or other comparable terminology. These statements are only predictions. Actual events or results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, such statements should not be regarded as a representation by the company, or any other person, that such forward-looking statements will be achieved. The business and operations of the company are subject to substantial risks which increase the uncertainty inherent in forward-looking statements. We undertake no duty to update any of the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. In light of the foregoing, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.


CONTACT: Media Contact:
Mike Beyer
Sam Brown Inc.
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