Noted This Week


February 14–20

Merck’s HIF2α inhibitor MK-6482 may be effective in patients with advanced clear cell renal cell carcinoma who have received at least one prior therapy, according to findings presented at the 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco, CA, February 13–15. In a phase I/II trial of 55 patients, 23.6% responded to the drug, and an additional 56.4% had stable disease; the median progression-free survival (PFS) was 11 months. MK-6482 is being tested in a phase III trial.

Also at the symposium, researchers reported that the PARP inhibitor talazoparib (Talzenna; Pfizer) may be a promising therapy for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer and DNA damage repair deficiency who previously received docetaxel. In a phase II trial, 81 patients with DNA damage repair mutations had an objective response rate (ORR) of 25.6% and a median PFS of 5.6 months; patients with BRCA1/2 mutations had an ORR of 50% and a median PFS of 8.2 months.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will pay Immatics $45 million up front to jointly develop two T-cell receptor therapies for solid tumors, and up to $550 million more in milestone payments. The companies will initially focus on autologous T-cell therapies, with the option of also co-developing allogeneic versions. Immatics will be responsible for early candidate development and validation; GSK will take on further manufacturing and commercialization.

Cellectis made a $10 million deal with Servier that could be worth up to another $140 million in milestone payments, for each of six gene-edited allogeneic CAR T-cell therapies the companies co-develop. Per the deal, Cellectis will handle research and development of candidates, which include the CD19 inhibitor ALLO-501A, through phase I trials. At that point, Servier can opt to take over clinical development, registration, and commercialization.

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology revealed that the rate of newly identified BRCA1/2 mutations in patients with pancreatic cancer may vary based on geography and race. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of geographic/demographic data from 2,206 patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer screened for the phase III POLO trial. They found that among 128 patients with newly identified BRCA1/2 mutations, the mutation rate was highest in U.S. patients (9.5%) and patients of African American descent (10.7%).

China’s National Medical Products Administration approved atezolizumab (Tecentriq; Roche) plus chemotherapy in patients with newly diagnosed extensive-stage small cell lung cancer. The approval was based on the phase III IMpower133 trial, in which patients treated with the combination had a median overall survival of 12.3 months and a median PFS of 5.2 months, compared with 10.3 months and 4.3 months in patients who received chemotherapy alone.

Five Prime Therapeutics announced that their investigational CSF1 inhibitor cabiralizumab plus nivolumab (Opdivo; Bristol-Myers Squibb) may not be effective in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. In a phase II trial, the combination, with or without chemotherapy, failed to extend median PFS compared with chemotherapy alone.


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