Pfizer, Merck & Co Collaborate on Cancer Combination Product

Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. Inc. have formed an agreement to explore the therapeutic potential of the combination of Pfizer's Xalkori (crizotinib) with Merck's investigational anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab, in a Phase Ib clinical study evaluating the safety and tolerability of the combination in patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 

This multi-center, open-label clinical study is expected to begin in 2015. Pfizer will conduct the study. Both companies previously announced plans to evaluate the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab in combination with Pfizer's small molecule kinase inhibitor Inlyta (axitinib) in patients with renal cell carcinoma. Separately, pembrolizumab plus Pfizer's PF-05082566 (PF-2566), an investigational immuno-oncology agent that targets the human 4-1BB receptor, will be evaluated in multiple cancer types. These studies are expected to begin enrollment later this year.

Xalkori  is a kinase inhibitor indicated for the treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors are anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK)-positive as detected by an FDA-approved test. Pembrolizumab (MK-3475) is an investigational, humanized, monoclonal antibody against PD-1 designed to reactivate anti-tumor immunity.  Pembrolizumab exerts dual ligand blockade of the PD-1 pathway by inhibiting the interaction of PD-1 on T cells with its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. Pembrolizumab is currently being evaluated across more than 30 types of cancers as a monotherapy and in combination.
Source: Pfizer

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