AstraZeneca and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutics to stimulate the body's immune system to fight cancer, have announced that they have entered into a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial collaboration. The collaboration will evaluate Peregrine's investigational phosphatidylserine (PS)-signaling pathway inhibitor, bavituximab, in combination with AstraZeneca's investigational anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab (MEDI4736). The planned Phase I/Ib trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of bavituximab in combination with durvalumab in multiple solid tumors.
Peregrine and AstraZeneca will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis, to evaluate the combination of bavituximab and durvalumab with chemotherapy as a potential treatment in various solid tumors. The Phase I part of the trial is expected to establish a recommended dose regimen for the combination and the Phase Ib part of the trial will assess the safety and efficacy of the investigational combination. Under the terms of the agreement, the initial trial will be conducted by Peregrine.
Robert Iannone, Head of Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development, at AstraZeneca said, "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."
Bavituximab and durvalumab are investigational immunotherapies with different mechanisms that assist the body's immune system in fighting cancer. Bavituximab targets and modulates the activity of phosphatidylserine, a highly immune-suppressive molecule expressed broadly on the surface of cells in the tumor microenvironment. The treatment increases activated T-cells in tumors and fights cancer by reversing the immunosuppressive environment that many tumors establish in order to proliferate. MEDI4736 is a monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumors avoid detection by the immune system. Preclinical data have demonstrated that combining the enhanced T-cell mediated anti-tumor activity of bavituximab with checkpoint inhibitors, like PD-L1 antibodies, prolong the ability of tumor-specific T-cells to continue attacking the tumor.
"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," said Steven W. King, president and chief executive officer of Peregrine. "AstraZeneca is a recognized 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."