Alessa Therapeutics Announces First Patient Enrollment in Biolen®+RT Study with National Cancer Institute

SAN CARLOS, CALIFORNIA, US, February 23, 2022 /  

Alessa Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage drug development company developing an innovative and proprietary localized drug delivery technology to treat prostate disease, announced the enrollment of the first two men with prostate cancer in the company’s Biolen+RT clinical study.

Biolen+RT (NCT 04943536) is a Phase 1 clinical study conducted in collaboration with the Radiation Oncology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The study will evaluate the feasibility of replacing systemic androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) with targeted local delivery of an anti-androgen agent in patients in whom ADT plus radiation therapy is indicated for the treatment of localized prostate cancer. The Biolen+RT feasibility study will enroll up to 20 subjects at NCI in Bethesda, Maryland.

First Biolen Implant Completed

Sparked by the NCI team’s interest in localized therapy to limit systemic side effects, Principal Investigator Dr. Deborah Citrin, along with her colleagues Doctors Peter Choyke, Baris Turkbey, Brad Wood, and Peter Pinto brought this study to the NCI and implanted the first patient on January 13th. The technique of delivering Biolen implant is similar to how fiduciary markers or brachytherapy seeds are placed and is currently done in an inpatient setting with MRI fusion guidance.

Dr. Pamela Munster, a medical oncologist at UCSF and the founder of Alessa Therapeutics commented, “All of us at Alessa are grateful for the efforts of the NCI team and the patients’ willingness to participate in the company’s first clinical study in the United States. As an oncologist and a cancer researcher, I strive every day to deliver the most effective treatment while minimizing side effects. Through this study, we hope to understand the potential of our novel approach to improve the quality of life for men indicated for ADT and radiation therapy in the treatment of prostate cancer.”

Prostate cancer is the second most prevalent cancer among men in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, over 200,000 men in the U.S. are newly diagnosed each year, and three million men live with prostate cancer. For men with higher risk disease, anti-androgen and testosterone-lowering drugs are administered to sensitize tumor cells to radiation therapy. While ADT or chemical castration has demonstrated improved clinical outcomes, systemic ADT is associated with significant side effects, including sexual dysfunction, cognitive issues, muscle mass loss, and cardiovascular events. Alessa’s Biolen implant is designed for sustained release of an anti-androgen drug directly to the target tissue in the prostate, potentially eliminating significant side effects and improving the quality of life for men undergoing radiation therapy.

About Alessa Therapeutics

Founded in 2018 and based on technology developed at the UCSF, Alessa Therapeutics is a privately held company focusing on developing selective and sustained localized drug delivery for early interception of cancer.  Alessa is financed by Mission Bay Capital and BioInnovation Capital (now Mission Biocapital:  For more information on Alessa Therapeutics, visit or email

Timothy Hay
for Alessa Therapeutics
+1 510-593-0285
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