Malignant Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that arises in mesothelial cells that line body cavities and internal organs. Mesothelioma is strongly associated with exposure to asbestos and has increasing incidence worldwide, with UK incidence of 2700 /annum still growing, despite the asbestos ban in the 1990’s. Mesothelioma patients have a very poor prognosis and median survival varies according to the subtype – sarcomatoid 4.3 months, biphasic 8.3 months and epithelioid 13.3 months. Current treatments for mesothelioma are immunotherapy with Nivolumab and ipilimumab and chemotherapy with pemetrexed/cisplatin regimen, which are administered intravenously and applicable to patients with ECOG performance status of 0 or 1. As mesothelioma patients are often older at diagnosis, they can be too frail to receive systemic treatment (especially the intrusive hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy) or tolerate the high rates of adverse side effects. The current treatments only improve survival by about 4 months and there is high unmet clinical need for mesothelioma treatment.

For the above reasons, Mesothelioma is classified as an orphan malignancy. By focusing on mesothelioma as our commencing point, Disulfican will be able to apply for approvals for orphan drug designation as a route to clinic and market. The UK regulator MHRA and other regulators in EU and US gives assistance with procedures for therapies to address designated orphan diseases and faster approvals for patient use. This means that the costs and timescales to get the drug approved for patients is reduced.