Merck & Co., Aduro Biotech Partner in Cancer Trial Pact

Aduro Biotech, a biopharmaceutical company witht immunotherapy technologies, has expanded its clinical collaboration with Merck & Co. Inc, to include an additional Phase II clinical trial. Keytruda is one of Merck’s top-selling drugs with 2016 global sales of $1.4 billion.

The companies will investigate the combination of CRS-207, Aduro’s LADD-(live, attenuated double-deleted) based immunotherapy, with Keytruda (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) whose disease progressed following prior treatment. Earlier this year, Aduro announced a Phase II clinical collaboration with Merck, through a subsidiary, to evaluate the combination of CRS-207 with pembrolizumab for the treatment of gastric cancer.

LADD is Aduro’s proprietary platform of live, attenuated double-deleted Listeria monocytogenes strains that have been engineered to generate an innate immune response and to express tumor-associated antigens to induce tumor-specific T cell-mediated immunity. CRS-207, the company’s lead LADD product candidate, has been engineered to express the tumor-associated antigen mesothelin, which is over-expressed in many cancers, including mesothelioma and pancreatic, non-small cell lung, ovarian, endometrial and gastric cancers, according to the company.

Keytruda is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. It is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby activating T lymphocytes which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

Keytruda is approvied in the US for treating unresectable or metastatic melanoma, metastatic non-small cell lung cancer, recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma, and certain forms of bladder cancer.

Source: Aduro Biotech

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