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AstraZeneca and Peregrine in immuno-oncology collaboration

Published on 24/08/15 at 10:20am

AstraZeneca and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals will collaborate on a clinical trial to test two of the companies' cancer treatments.

The Phase I/Ib trial will look at AstraZeneca’s durvalumab (MEDI4736) when paired with Peregrine’s bavituximab and chemotherapy, in various solid tumours.

Bavituximab and durvalumab are two investigational immunotherapies with different mechanisms that assist the body's immune system in fighting cancer. Durvalumab is a monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumours avoid detection by the immune system.

Bavituximab, Peregrine’s lead immunotherapy candidate, is currently in Phase III development for the treatment of second-line non-small lung cancer. The treatment increases activated T-cells in tumours to fight cancer. 

The two companies will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis. The Phase I part of the trial is expected to establish a recommended dose regimen for the combination, while the Phase Ib study will assess its safety and efficacy. Under the terms of the agreement, Peregrine will conduct the initial trial. Preclinical data suggest that combining bavituximab with checkpoint inhibitors, like PD-L1 antibodies, allow tumour-specific T-cells to continue attacking the tumour for longer.  

Robert Iannone, head of immuno-oncology, global medicines development at AstraZeneca, says: “We believe that combination therapy in immuno-oncology has the potential to be a novel and highly effective approach to treating cancer. Our partnership with Peregrine provides the opportunity to explore an exciting, novel combination that could deliver important clinical benefit to patients across a range of cancers.”

"Data generated to date have shown significant potential for combining bavituximab with agents targeting the PD-1/PDL-1 pathway and we’re excited to further explore this approach in studies with AstraZeneca’s durvalumab," says Steven King, president and chief executive of Peregrine.

King adds: “AstraZeneca is a recognised leader in the immuno-oncology field and this collaboration will play a key role as we continue to fully explore the potential of bavituximab in combination immunotherapies for a variety of clinical applications.”

Joel Levy

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