Merck, GSK Collaborate on Immuno-Oncology

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Merck & Co. have initiated a Phase I clinical trial designed to evaluate GSK's investigational immunotherapy GSK3174998 as monotherapy and in combination with Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, Keytruda (pembrolizumab) in patients with locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic solid tumor(s) that have progressed after standard treatment.

GSK3174998 is a humanized IgG1 anti-OX40 monoclonal antibody that was identified through a collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center. OX40 is a tumor necrosis factor receptor expressed on the surface of activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. OX40 agonism results in stimulation of both immune effector and memory functions while also attenuating the immunosuppressive regulatory T cells that are sometimes found in tumors. GSK3174998 is one of a number of early-stage assets in GSK's oncology pipeline focused on fighting the fundamental drivers of cancer. Keytruda is a humanized monoclonal antibody that works by increasing the ability of the body's immune system to help detect and fight tumor cells. Keytruda blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, and may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

Keytruda is approved in the United States at a dose of 2 mg/kg administered as an intravenous infusion over 30 minutes every three weeks for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors express PD-L1 as determined by an FDA-approved test with disease progression on or after platinum-containing chemotherapy. Keytruda is also approved at the same dosing for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma and disease progression following ipilimumab and, if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor.

Source: GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co.

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