Nibrozetone (RRx-001), Call Sign “Wingman”

Oct 23, 2023

The golden rule and central moral code from the first Top Gun movie are to “never, never leave your wingman”. Commander Rick “Jester” Heatherly delivers this lecture to reckless and headstrong Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell after the latter flouts the rules of engagement and abandons his position as wingman to pursue Jester on his own “below the hard deck.”

If the NLRP3 inhibitor and vascular normalizer, nibrozetone (RRx-001), were ever assigned a call sign like the fighter pilots from Top Gun (e.g., Maverick, Goose, Rooster, Iceman, Jester, Hangman, and Viper) it would be “Wingman.”

Why Wingman?

Because nibrozetone (RRx-001) is the ultimate team player. It is given in combination 1) with a platinum doublet in the Phase 3 clinical trial, REPLATINUM, for the treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and 2) with cisplatin and radiation in the soon-to-start Phase 2b clinical trial KEVLARx to mitigate or prevent the occurrence of severe oral mucositis.

The mission of a wingman is to sacrifice individual achievement in support of the team. This perfectly describes the mission of nibrozetone (RRx-001), which is to make the treatment regimens of chemotherapy, radiation, or immunotherapy better and more effective. Not only better and more effective, but also more tolerable so that dose delays, dose reductions, and dose discontinuations are less likely. The more that dose delays, reductions, and discontinuations occur, the worse that the clinical outcomes are in general.

Not that nibrozetone (RRx-001) doesn’t have single agent activity on its own—abundant preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that it does—but the backup role that nibrozetone (RRx-001) assumes in the “danger zone” of tumors, which is potentially so critical for mission success, makes the call sign, “Wingman”, an appropriate one. Another call sign, “Iconoclast”, also fits because nibrozetone (RRx-001) comes from a non-traditional pharmaceutical source, the aerospace industry, which is very relevant for this analogy.

At the end of the first Top Gun, Iceman tells Maverick, “You can be my wingman anytime.” It is the same for nibrozetone (RRx-001), which takes its “wingman anytime” status literally because of a long duration of action that potentially lasts for weeks to months even after one administration.

With the Phase 2b clinical trial, KEVLARx, in first line locally advanced head and neck cancer about to start, it is time to fire up the engines, and hit play on the Top Gun theme song, Danger Zone.