REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells, today announced that it has started a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial of its anti-cancer stem cell product candidate, demcizumab (OMP-21M18) in ovarian cancer. The trial will enroll patients at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, and is being funded in part under an ovarian cancer National Cancer Institute SPORE Grant Program. In this Phase 1b/2 trial, demcizumab is being tested in combination with paclitaxel in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer or primary peritoneal cancer. Following a Phase 1b safety run-in, a Phase 2 clinical trial will proceed in these patients. The primary endpoints of the Phase 2 part of the trial will be to determine the progression-free survival and response rate of the novel demcizumab with paclitaxel combination. Key secondary and exploratory endpoints include overall survival, biomarker endpoints and safety. Dr. Robert Coleman, Professor & Vice Chair, Clinical Research, Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX, and the Principal Investigator who treated the first patient on the study noted, "Women with platinum-resistant ovarian, fallopian tube and primary peritoneal cancers are in need of new treatment options. We believe that an investigational therapy such as demcizumab, with its novel anti-cancer stem cell mechanism of action, could yield important results for these patients." "The trial includes a number of translational science and biomarker evaluations that will help to elucidate the mechanisms by which demcizumab works for the treatment of ovarian cancer patients and aims to identify predictors of response to therapy," said Dr. Anil Sood, Professor & Vice Chair, Translational Research in the Department, who will be working on the trial.