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Lilly and AstraZeneca collaborate on cancer trials

Published on 29/05/15 at 02:28pm
MEDI4736 and Cyramza have shown efficacy in lung cancer

AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly are teaming up to run a clinical trial of two of the companies’ anti-cancer drugs.

The trial will look at the safety and effectiveness of different doses of AZ’s potential immunotherapy treatment MEDI4736, in combination with Lilly’s Cyramza (ramucirumab).

MEDI4736 is an anti PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, while Cyramza is a VEGF-receptor-2 anti-cancer medicine. Both companies are pinning their hopes on positive trial results at this month’s American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago to demonstrate the drugs’ potential; in numerous cancers in the case of MEDI4736 and in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in the case of Cyramza.

The collaborative Phase I study between the two companies will assess the combination as a treatment for patients with advanced solid tumours. The exact tumour types and financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, although Lilly will sponsor the trial.

Robert Iannone, head of immuno-oncology and global medicines development at AstraZeneca, says: “We believe that combination therapy in immuno-oncology has the potential to transform the way cancer is treated. MEDI4736 is supported by a comprehensive development programme and is emerging as a cornerstone of our combination-focused immuno-oncology pipeline targeting multiple tumour types.

“Our collaboration with Lilly is a great addition to our programme and provides the opportunity to explore another exciting, novel combination that could deliver important clinical benefit to cancer patients.”

While Richard Gaynor, senior vice president of product development and medical affairs at Lilly Oncology says: “The development of immune checkpoint inhibitors has been one of the more exciting research advancements in recent oncology history, but it is going to be even more interesting to see how these inhibitors can be combined with other proven targeted therapies.”

“This collaboration represents the next wave of immuno-oncology research by bringing together two innovative medicines as a novel combination that we hope will one day provide new cancer treatment solutions.”

Lilly will present data from several trials of Cyramza at ASCO, including a Phase II study of people with NSCLC in Japan. It will also present other data, including those from global Phase III studies of Cyramza in gastric, non-small cell lung, and liver cell cancers.  

Lilian Anekwe

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