EAGAN, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Biothera announced today that it has joined AstraZeneca, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Eli Lilly and Company, MedImmune and Verastem as the latest pharmaceutical partner in Cancer Research UK's Combinations Alliance.
The Combinations Alliance is a joint initiative between Cancer Research UK's Centre for Drug Development, the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) Network and select pharmaceutical companies and aims to develop novel combination strategies to increase treatment options for people with cancer. Today’s announcement marks the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Biothera and Cancer Research UK that provides the framework for Biothera's immune modulator, Imprime PGG®, to be included as a novel therapeutic available to the Alliance. Expressions of interest are now being sought from leading investigators and pharmaceutical partners in the Alliance to evaluate Imprime PGG in combination with other novel cancer therapeutics in clinical studies targeting high unmet need cancer indications.
"The UK's Combinations Alliance brings together all the elements required for successful collaborations between industrial and academic partners aiming to identify novel approaches for the treatment of cancer," said Dan Conners, President of Biothera's Pharmaceutical Group. "Alliance members can access world leading scientific knowledge, clinicians, clinical capacity and oncology centers and research proposals are subject to scientific peer review overseen by Cancer Research UK, the world's largest independent cancer research charity.”
Dr. Hazel Jones, Cancer Research UK’s head of combination therapies, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Biothera to the Alliance. Imprime PGG broadens our portfolio and provides an exciting new opportunity for treatment combinations that modify the immune response to cancer. This brings the total number of partners to six, providing the research community, and in turn patients, with access to a larger number of potential combinations to help increase survival from cancer.”
Biothera, a privately held U.S. biotechnology company, is developing Imprime PGG, a late clinical stage biologic that modulates the immune response to cancer. Data from the most recent randomized phase 2 study of Imprime PGG in first line non-squamous NSCLC was featured as a late-breaking abstract in the Immunotherapy of Cancer session at ESMO 2014. In this study, which evaluated the addition of Imprime PGG to bevacizumab and carboplatin/paclitaxel versus bevacizumab and chemotherapy alone, objective response rate was 60.4% versus 43.5%, duration of response was 10.3 months versus 5.6 months and median overall survival was 16.1 months versus 11.6 months. Similarly encouraging data have been observed in both squamous and non-squamous subjects in a second randomized Phase 2 study in 1st line NSCLC in combination with cetuximab and in studies in high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia and metastatic colorectal cancer. Imprime PGG directly modulates the key effector cells of the innate immune system, neutrophils and monocytes/macrophage, enabling them to recognize and kill antibody-targeted cancer cells. In addition, on-going research points to a secondary, bystander effect of Imprime PGG on both innate and adaptive immune cell types known to exist in the tumor microenvironment, including T-cells, dendritic cells, M-2 macrophages and myeloid derived suppressor cells. Imprime PGG is being evaluated in a phase 3 study in late stage metastatic colorectal cancer and planning is underway for an approvable study in NSCLC.
About the ECMC Network
Conducting the majority of early-phase cancer clinical trials in the UK, experimental cancer medicine centres (ECMCs) provide infrastructure funding to enhance the quantity and quality of research in developing new medicines to help beat cancer. Each ECMC brings together lab-based experts in cancer biology with cancer doctors to speed up the flow of ideas from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside. Launched in 2007, the network of 18 ECMCs is jointly supported by Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research in England, and the Departments of Health of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who, together, have provided £35m from 2007-2012 and a further £35m from 2012 to 2017. Find out more at www.ecmcnetwork.org.uk
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.