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Sydney biotech Noxopharm says a clinical trial suggests its radiation-sensitising suppository was able to extend the average lifespan of 32 men with terminal prostate cancer.

The men were treated with Veyonda in combination with Novartis’ $6 billion experimental radioactive drug 177Lu-PSMA-617 at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney after at least two and in most cases three lines of therapy had failed.

They lived an average of 17.1 months despite two-thirds of them having over 20 tumours in their bones and lymph nodes.

Noxopharm chief medical officer Dr Gisela Mautner said the men “normally would have a much shorter survival expectation”.

“These interim results are highly relevant for a patient group that is at the very end of their treatment journey with very limited life expectancy,” she said.

Twenty of the 32 patients had a strong reduction in their PSA levels, an important marker for anti-cancer activity, and many experienced a reduction in severe pain.

The study is continuing with another 24 men being treated with a higher dose of Veyonda, also in combination with 177Lu-PSMA-617, which is injected intravenously once every six weeks for 36 weeks.

Noxopharm says the twice-daily suppository works by blocking cancer cells from being able to repair DNA damaged by radiation therapy.

“Our belief is that Veyonda works in a way that will provide a worthwhile boost to all radiopharmaceuticals, not just 177Lu-PSMA-617,” executive chairman and chief executive Dr Graham Kelly said.

At 1128 AEDT, Noxopharm shares were up one cent, or 4.4 per cent, to 23.5 cents.