Lilly, Immunocore Sign Immunotherapy Pact
Immunocore Limited and Eli Lilly and Company have formed an immunotherapy-based clinical trial collaboration to explore the utility of Immunocore's lead T-cell receptor based investigational therapeutic, IMCgp100, in combination with Lilly's galunisertib (LY2157299) and merestinib (LY2801653) for the treatment of melanoma. The goal of the collaboration is to identify combination regimens that provide synergies in efficacy and durability in patients with metastatic cutaneous and uveal melanomas.
Under the agreement, Immunocore and Lilly will conduct a Phase Ib/II clinical study evaluating the safety and preliminary efficacy of IMCgp100 in combination with galunisertib in metastatic cutaneous melanoma. A second Phase Ib/II study will be conducted combining IMCgp100 with merestinib in metastatic uveal melanoma. Lilly will act as trial sponsor. These studies are anticipated to begin in 2016. No financial terms were disclosed.
Immunocore and Lilly entered into a co-discovery and co-development collaboration, announced in July 2014, to research and potentially develop other novel T-cell-based cancer therapies built on Immunocore's ImmTAC platform.
IMCgp100 and galunisertib are members of a new class of cancer treatments known as immunotherapies, which are designed to enhance the body's own immune system in fighting cancer and whose mechanisms of action have the potential to be complementary. IMCgp100 is Immunocore's most advanced Immune mobilising mTCR Against Cancer molecules (ImmTAC), which are a class of bi-specific biologic drugs based on T-cell receptors (TCRs) with ultra-high affinity for intracellular and extracellular cancer targets. Lilly's galunisertib is a small-molecule inhibitor of TGF beta R1 kinase that in vitro selectively blocks TGF beta signaling. TGF beta promotes tumor growth, suppresses the immune system and increases the ability of tumors to spread in the body. Merestinib is Lilly's small molecule multi-kinase inhibitor that in vitro selectively blocks signaling of MET, MST1R (RON), AXL, and MKNK 1/2.