NeoTX Therapeutics has entered into a clinical collaboration with AstraZeneca Group’s global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune to support Phase 1b/2 studies investigating NeoTX’s naptumomab estafenatox in combination with IMFINZI (durvalumab).
These studies are expected to begin in 2019. Naptumomab is the lead drug in NeoTX’s novel Selective T cell Redirection (“STR”) platform.
Naptumomab’s dual mechanism of action coats the tumor with a target that can be easily identified by T cells and then primes and redirects specific activated T cells that can identify that target, to the tumor.
Durvalumab is a human monoclonal antibody that blocks the immune checkpoint protein, programmed death-ligand (PD-L1), and allows activated T cells to attack tumor cells.
The Phase 1b/2 studies will determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of naptumomab in combination with durvalumab, evaluate the clinical response, safety and tolerability of the combination, as well as test for multiple pharmacodynamic parameters.
Under terms of the agreement, NeoTX and AstraZeneca will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis to evaluate the combination of the two drugs in solid tumors. NeoTX will sponsor the study, while AstraZeneca will supply durvalumab. Up to 195 patients are planned to be enrolled in this multicenter, open-label study.
“We are pleased to work with AstraZeneca addressing the high unmet medical need of patients with tumors for which checkpoint inhibitor therapy has had little success,” said Asher Nathan, NeoTX Therapeutics’ chief executive officer.
“The safety profile of naptumomab alone and in combination with interferon has been demonstrated in clinical studies in hundreds of patients with solid tumors. Naptumomab can enhance T cell activation and infiltration in tumors and can remodel the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. In preclinical models, naptumomab has a synergistic effect with checkpoint inhibitors which could translate into durable responses in patients.”