BOSTON, Aug. 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq:ZIOP) today announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2013, and provided an update on the Company's key development activities, including advances in its synthetic biology platform with Channel Collaborator Intrexon Corporation. "We continue to make great strides with our synthetic biology platform, and expect that the coming quarters will be an important period of validation for both our most advanced program, IL-12 DNA, and our various, cutting-edge multi-genic and immunotherapeutic programs, which are rapidly progressing toward the clinic," said Jonathan Lewis, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of ZIOPHARM. "These technologies, the first to combine the principles of precision engineering, statistical modeling, automation and production at an industrial scale in the life sciences, are revealing the potential for significant therapeutic advances in cancer treatment." Dr. Lewis added: "Our progress will include clinical and preclinical readouts, presentations and publications, many in cooperation with our synthetic biology channel collaborator Intrexon Corporation." Recent Corporate Highlights Ad-RTS IL-12, the Company's lead drug candidate, is currently being tested in two Phase 2 studies, the first for the treatment of advanced melanoma, and the second in combination with other therapies for the treatment of advanced breast cancer. In May 2013, ZIOPHARM announced promising results from nonclinical and Phase 1 studies in advanced melanoma using Ad-RTS-IL-12. In these studies, the controlled expression of IL-12, through a regulatable gene therapy strategy, was found to limit systemic toxicity while inducing biological and clinical activity in a dose-dependent fashion. The findings were presented in an oral session at the 16th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT). In June, updated results were presented at the 2013 American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO). ZIOPHARM also announced in March 2013 the initiation of a randomized, open label Phase 2 clinical study of Ad-RTS-IL-12 in combination with other therapies to treat breast cancer. The two-part, multi-center U.S. study will enroll patients with non-resectable, recurrent or metastatic breast cancer who have visible lesions or lesions accessible by injection. The study is designed to assess the safety and efficacy of the therapeutic combination of Ad-RTS-IL-12 and other therapies. Initiation of the clinical study was followed by the presentation of results, from a study in a breast cancer murine preclinical model, demonstrating the anti-tumor effects and tolerability of Ad-RTS-IL-12. The data were presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2013 Annual Meeting in April.