MEI Pharma Reports Improved Response Rates in Phase II Study of Pracinostat in Front Line Acute Myeloid Leukemia

57% CR/CRi Rate in 14 Evaluable Patients, ASH Abstract Now Available

Nov 6, 2014

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP), an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapies for cancer, today announced that data from a Phase II clinical study of its investigational drug candidate Pracinostat in combination with the hypomethylating agent azacitidine (marketed as Vidaza®) in elderly patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia has been accepted for presentation at the upcoming American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

An abstract of the presentation, entitled "Pracinostat in Combination with Azacitidine Produces a High Rate and Rapid Onset of Disease Remission in Patients with Previously Untreated Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML)," is now available at and

As reported in the abstract (as of August 1, 2014), eight of the 14 patients evaluable for efficacy achieved a complete response (CR) or a complete response with incomplete blood count recovery (CRi). The authors conclude that this CR/CRi rate of 57% is high compared to historical results with hypomethylating agents alone in this population, noting that the responses occur rapidly, most within the first two cycles. No responders have progressed to date.

The combination of Pracinostat and azacitidine has been generally well-tolerated in the study, with no unexpected toxicities. The most common treatment emergent adverse events were neutropenia/neutropenic fever, thrombocytopenia, nausea, fatigue and anemia.

In June 2014, the Company reported a CR/CRi rate of 33% in the first nine patients enrolled, meeting the pre-specified CR/CRi rate required to advance to the second stage of the study. The open-label study is enrolling a total of 40 patients to further define the tolerability and efficacy of the regimen, including remission duration.

Interim data from up to 30 evaluable patients from 14 clinical sites will be presented by Dr. Guillermo Garcia-Manero of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, lead author and principal investigator of the study, in a poster presentation on Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time from Hall E in the North Building of the Moscone Center in San Francisco.

In addition, the Company's management team will be hosting its 2nd Annual Analyst and Investor Day in the evening on Monday, December 8, 2014 at the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco. The event will feature updates by Daniel P. Gold, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, and Robert D. Mass, MD, Chief Medical Officer, along with a presentation by Dr. Garcia-Manero.

About Pracinostat

Pracinostat is an oral histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor that has been tested in a number of Phase I and Phase II clinical trials in advanced hematologic disorders and solid tumor indications in both adult and pediatric patients. Pracinostat has been generally well tolerated in more than 300 patients to date, with manageable side effects that are often associated with drugs of this class, including fatigue, myelosuppresion and gastrointestinal toxicity. In a Phase I dose-escalation trial, Pracinostat demonstrated evidence of single-agent activity in elderly AML patients, including two out of 14 (14%) who achieved a CR, with durable responses persisting 206+ and 362 days, respectively. In addition, results from a pilot study of Pracinostat in combination with Vidaza in patients with advanced myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) showed an overall response rate of 90% (nine out of 10), including eight patients who achieved either a CR or a CRi.

MEI Pharma owns exclusive worldwide rights to Pracinostat.

About AML

Acute myeloid leukemia (also known as acute myelogenous leukemia) is the most common acute leukemia affecting adults, and its incidence is expected to increase as the population ages. The American Cancer Society estimates about 14,590 new cases of AML per year in the U.S., with an average age of about 66. Treatment options for AML remain virtually unchanged over the past 30 years. Front line treatment consists primarily of chemotherapy, while the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology recommend azacitidine or decitabine (marketed as Dacogen®) as low intensity treatment options for AML patients over the age of 60 who are unsuitable for induction chemotherapy.

About MEI Pharma

MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP) is a San Diego-based oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapies for cancer. The Company's lead drug candidate is Pracinostat, a potential best-in-class, oral HDAC inhibitor currently in development for MDS and AML. In August 2014, the Company completed enrollment in a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase II study of Pracinostat in combination with azacitidine in patients with previously untreated intermediate-2 or high-risk MDS. The Company plans to unblind the study and report topline data in Q1 2015. MEI Pharma is also developing ME-344, a mitochondrial inhibitor that has shown preliminary evidence of single-agent activity in a first-in-human clinical study in patients with refractory solid tumors. In September 2013, the Company further expanded its pipeline of drug candidates with the acquisition of PWT143, a highly selective PI3K delta inhibitor. For more information, go to

Under U.S. law, a new drug cannot be marketed until it has been investigated in clinical trials and approved by the FDA as being safe and effective for the intended use. Statements included in this press release that are not historical in nature are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You should be aware that our actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, our failure to successfully commercialize our product candidates; costs and delays in the development and/or FDA approval, or the failure to obtain such approval, of our product candidates; uncertainties or differences in interpretation in clinical trial results; our inability to maintain or enter into, and the risks resulting from our dependence upon, collaboration or contractual arrangements necessary for the development, manufacture, commercialization, marketing, sales and distribution of any products; competitive factors; our inability to protect our patents or proprietary rights and obtain necessary rights to third party patents and intellectual property to operate our business; our inability to operate our business without infringing the patents and proprietary rights of others; general economic conditions; the failure of any products to gain market acceptance; our inability to obtain any additional required financing; technological changes; government regulation; changes in industry practice; and one-time events. We do not intend to update any of these factors or to publicly announce the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements.

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SOURCE MEI Pharma, Inc.

For further information: Pete De Spain, Vice President, Investor Relations & Corporate Communications, (858) 792-3729,