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4D Pharma, Merck and Pfizer ink trial collaboration for carcinoma drug

Christian Fernsby |
4D pharma plc announced a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer Inc. for BAVENCIO (avelumab), the first and only immunotherapy approved as a first-line maintenance treatment for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma.

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Topics: 4D PHARMA    MERCK    PFIZER   

BAVENCIO is co-developed and co-commercialized by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer Inc.

Under the collaboration, 4D pharma intends to commence a clinical trial in 2021 to evaluate BAVENCIO in combination with MRx0518 as a first-line maintenance therapy for patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma that has not progressed with first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy.

MRx0518 is single strain Live Biotherapeutic product in development for the treatment of cancer. It is delivered as an oral capsule and stimulates the body’s immune system, directing it to produce cytokines and immune cells that are known to attack tumours. It is currently being evaluated in three clinical trials in patients with cancer.

MRx0518-I-001 is a neoadjuvant monotherapy study in a variety of solid tumours and is being conducted at Imperial College (London, UK). MRx0518-I-002 is in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in patients whose disease has previously progressed on anti-PD-1 therapies. The Coordinating Investigator of the study is at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA, with multiple additional sites in the US.

The study is being conducted in collaboration with MSD, the tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA. MRx0518-I-003 is in combination with preoperative radiotherapy in resectable pancreatic cancer.

A fourth clinical trial of MRx0518 in combination with BAVENCIO® (avelumab) in the first-line maintenance setting for urothelial carcinoma, conducted in collaboration with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany and Pfizer Inc., is expected to initiate in 2021.

Avelumab (BAVENCIO) is indicated in the US for the maintenance treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (UC) that has not progressed with first-line platinum-containing chemotherapy.

BAVENCIO is also indicated for the treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic UC who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy, or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Avelumab in combination with axitinib is approved in the US for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

In the US, the FDA granted accelerated approval for BAVENCIO for the treatment of adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).

This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and duration of response. Continued approval may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

The warnings and precautions for avelumab (BAVENCIO) include immune-mediated adverse reactions (such as pneumonitis and hepatitis including fatal cases, colitis, endocrinopathies, nephritis, and other immune-mediated adverse reactions as a single agent or in combination with axitinib which can be severe and have included fatal cases), infusion-related reactions, hepatotoxicity in combination with axitinib, major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in combination with axitinib which can be severe and have included fatal cases, and embryo-fetal toxicity.

Common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) in patients treated with BAVENCIO® monotherapy include fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, diarrhea, nausea, infusion-related reaction, peripheral edema, decreased appetite, urinary tract infection and rash.

Common adverse reactions (reported in at least 20% of patients) in patients receiving BAVENCIO® in combination with axitinib include diarrhea, fatigue, hypertension, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, mucositis, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, dysphonia, decreased appetite, hypothyroidism, rash, hepatotoxicity, cough, dyspnea, abdominal pain and headache.

Grade 3-4 hematology laboratory value abnormalities reported in at least 10% of patients with Merkel cell carcinoma treated with BAVENCIO® monotherapy include lymphopenia; in patients receiving BAVENCIO in combination with axitinib, grade 3-4 clinical chemistry abnormalities include blood triglyceride increased and lipase increased.


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