Baton Rouge-based Esperance Pharmaceuticals Inc. said one of its new developmental drugs helped shrink tumors among ovarian cancer patients during a Phase II clinical trial.

The latest test of EP-100 involved 50 patients and was designed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of the drug when combined with paclitaxel, a common chemotherapy treatment for advanced ovarian cancer. The study’s authors reported that EP-100 appears to sensitize paclitaxel-resistant ovarian tumors, leading to further tumor shrinkage and prolonged treatment response.

“The successful completion of this Phase II trial is a major milestone for Esperance,” Chief Executive Officer Hector Alila said.

EP-100’s ability to sensitize ovarian tumors to further treatment for patients whose cancer is incurable is an important validation for both the drug and Esperance’s Cationic Lytic Peptide platform technology.

Esperance has begun planning a Phase III registration trial for EP-100 and is assessing options for further development of other anti-cancer drug candidates in the company’s pipeline.

EP-100 targets certain hormone receptors in cancer cells, rupturing the cell walls and killing the cancer cells.

The results of the randomized, multi-center Phase II trial of EP-100 were presented at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting, held Saturday.

Esperance presented the results of EP-100’s Phase I trial, to test the drug’s safety, in 2012.