EAGAN, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the world’s largest charitable funder of cancer research, will fund preclinical research evaluating the efficacy of Biothera’s investigational cancer immunotherapy Imprime PGG® in combination with monoclonal antibody (MAb) therapies as a precursor to a phase 1-2 clinical study in rituximab-refractory follicular lymphoma.
The research will be conducted at the Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre under the direction of Tim Illidge, BSc, PhD, MRCP, FRCR, FRCPath, Professor of Targeted Therapy and Oncology, Institute of Cancer Sciences at the University of Manchester.
It forms part of Cancer Research UK’s Combinations Alliance, a joint initiative between the Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development, the UK’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network and commercial partners to boost research combining different drugs with conventional chemotherapy, radiotherapy and new targeted treatments.
“We are grateful to Cancer Research UK for its support and we are very pleased to be working with Dr. Illidge, who is an internationally recognized expert in the management of lymphoma,” said Jeremy Graff, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Biothera Pharmaceutical Research. “Imprime PGG’s ability to orchestrate both innate and adaptive immune responses to facilitate cancer cell recognition and killing in combination with anti-CD20 antibodies may prove highly effective against B cell malignancies.”
CD20 is an antigen expressed on the cell surface of many B cell malignancies, including both Hodgkin's lymphomas and most non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. Co-investigator Dr. Eleanor Cheadle of Targeted Therapy and Oncology Group will utilize preclinical models to determine whether Imprime PGG, through innate immune modulation, enhances the efficacy of two anti-CD20 MAbs, ofatumumab and obinutuzumab, that the FDA has approved as treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia and which have shown potential to treat follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The two MAbs have slightly different mechanisms of action and the study will be designed to determine which MAb will be most effective to develop in the clinic with Imprime PGG.
Biothera will present preclinical data at next month’s AACR-sponsored International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference showing that Imprime PGG enhances the efficacy of anti-CD20 MAbs rituximab, ofatumumab, and obinutuzumab in various B cell lymphoma cell lines.
In addition, clinical research with a combination of Imprime PGG and other complement-activating MAbs has shown promising results in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In a recent study, 64% of the Imprime PGG treatment group had complete responses, meaning blood tests found no traces of cancer.
Dr. Hazel Jones, Cancer Research UK’s Head of Combination Therapies, said, “We’re excited to be working with Biothera through our Combinations Alliance to progress this promising new immunotherapy combination treatment a step closer to the clinic. Through collaboration with industry, this scheme aims to create opportunities for clinical researchers to design pioneering trials involving new combinations of drugs, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. We’re delighted to add this study to our active portfolio of combination therapies, meaning we can hopefully offer a wider range of potential treatment options to people with cancer in the future.”
About the Cancer Research UK Combinations Alliance
The Cancer Research UK Combinations Alliance is a joint collaboration between the Cancer Research UK Centre for Drug Development, the UK’s Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network and commercial partners aimed at increasing the number of early phase clinical trials investigating novel drugs in combination with other novel drugs, chemotherapy and or radiotherapy among people in the UK with cancer. For more information see: http://www.ecmcnetwork.org.uk/ca
About Cancer Research UK
- Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research.
- Cancer Research UK’s pioneering work into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer has helped save millions of lives.
- Cancer Research UK receives no government funding for its life-saving research. Every step it makes towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated.
- Cancer Research UK has been at the heart of the progress that has already seen survival rates in the UK double in the last 40 years.
- Today, 2 in 4 people survive cancer. Cancer Research UK’s ambition is to accelerate progress so that 3 in 4 people will survive cancer within the next 20 years.
- Cancer Research UK supports research into all aspects of cancer through the work of over 4,000 scientists, doctors and nurses.
- Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK's vision is to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
About Manchester Academic Health Sciences Centre
Manchester Academic Health Science Centre (MAHSC) is a partnership between The University of Manchester and six National Health Services organisations, uniting leading healthcare providers with world-class academics and researchers.
Biothera is a privately held biotechnology company developing Imprime PGG, a late clinical stage immunotherapeutic drug candidate that modulates key immune cells to recognize and kill cancer. Proof of concept has been established from single-arm and randomized Phase 2 studies in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), colorectal cancer, and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Studies are ongoing in metastatic colorectal cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In addition, new research shows that Imprime PGG elicits a coordinated immune response that involves both innate and adaptive immunity. More information is available at www.biothera.com/pharma or follow us on Twitter.