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Merck and MacroGenics collaborate on immuno-oncology

Evaluates margetuximab with Keytruda for gastric cancer
Merck

Merck & Co. have agreed to collaborate with MacroGenics to evaluate the combination of margetuximab with Keytruda in patients with advanced gastric cancer.

The collaboration will consist of two trials - the first phase I trial to determine the safety and tolerability of the combination, and a second phase II trial to evaluate the anti-tumour effect of the drugs.

Dr Eric Rubin, VP and therapeutic area head of oncology early-stage development at Merck, said: “Today, there is a great opportunity and need to bring forward new scientific breakthroughs for the treatment of gastric cancer.

“Evaluating the potential of combination therapies through strategic collaborations in difficult-to-treat tumor types continues to be an important part of our immune-oncology clinical development program for Keytruda.”

Trial start-up activities are already underway with the first patients expected to be enrolled in the first quarter of 2016.

Margetuximab is an Fc-optimised monoclonal antibody that targets the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, or HER2 - an antigen critical for the growth of a variety of tumours including breast and gastroesophageal cancers.

Macrogenics also began a collaboration with Takeda in October last year to develop and commercialise as many as four drugs with the potential of making $400m.

Keytruda was recently granted accelerated approval by the FDA to treat patients with advance non-small cell lung cancer and tumours that express PD-L1.

Though Keytruda faces stiff competition from BMS' Opdivo, analysts expect 2020 sales of Keytruda in the range of $5bn. 

Article by
Nikhil Patel

29th October 2015

From: Research

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