Provectus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSEMKT:PVCT) was granted patents in China and Europe for the use of PV-10 as an imaging agent for CT and MRI scans. PV-10, which is commonly known as Rose Bengal, was given the patent as an imaging agent for diagnosis of cancer.
However, the use of PV-10 as an imaging agent is less important to Provectus than use of the drug as a treatment for cancer and dermatological conditions. Clinical trials for both indications are in progress. Patents for the use of PV-10 as a cancer treatment are pending.
Rose Bengal is a synthetic dye that has long been used by ophthalmologists to detect unhealthy blood vessels. According to Provectus, PV-10 is taken up by cancer cells but not by normal cells. The company maintains PV-10 is a more natural treatment for cancer than current therapies, a treatment that could potentially lower both cost and the incidence of side effects.
Although Provectus is still seeking to delineate the mechanism of the PV-10, it thinks PV-10 causes apoptosis following injection into a tumor. As a result, the immune system becomes aware of the remaining cells as foreign, and it then seeks them out to destroy them.
In 2007, Provectus began a Phase II trial of PV-10 in patients with metastatic melanoma at two sites in Australia. A US site will be added early this year. Interim results from the trial are expected in the second half of 2008. A Phase I test is also underway for recurrent breast cancer. A Phase I/II trial for liver cancer will begin soon.
A Phase II trial of a similar drug, PH-10, is underway as a topical treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis. The trial, being conducted at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York, is expected to report results in late 2008. A Phase II trial for eczema will begin in the second quarter.
The Knoxville, Tenn. company said that investors had been converting their warrants into stock. The proceeds have given the company enough money to operate for the next eighteen months.
Provectus was trading 11 cents higher at $1.19. The company has a market capitalization of $59 million.