A new cohort for pancreatic cancer trial

NantKwest and ImmunityBio add third-line cohort to Phase 2 study, opening it to patients who have failed all approved standards of care

Jeffrey Bouley
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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. & CULVER CITY, Calif.—NantKwest Inc., a clinical-stage, natural killer cell-based therapeutics company, and ImmunityBio, a privately-held immunotherapy company, have added a third cohort to their ongoing Phase 2 trial of a novel immunotherapy for locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer.
 
This third cohort enables pancreatic cancer patients who have failed all approved standards of care to participate in the trial.
 
The randomized, open-label study is evaluating safety and efficacy of a combination immunotherapy comprising NantKwest’s PD-L1 t-haNK, ImmunityBio’s IL-15 superagonist Anktiva (N-803) and aldoxorubicin, plus standard of care. The results will be compared to standard-of-care chemotherapy for first- and second-line treatment; the third-line cohort is a single arm, with no comparator. Each cohort will be studied independently to provide more precise comparative data for each disease stage.
 
“Pancreatic cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer, with a five-year survival rate of just five percent, so new and more effective therapies are desperately needed,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, chairman and CEO of NantKwest and ImmunityBio. “By adding the third cohort to this important study, we’re able to enroll patients at all stages of the disease, even those who experience disease progression after the first- or second-line treatment.”
 
Currently, three trial sites have been activated: Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Orange County, Calif.; The Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Medicine in Los Angeles County, Calif.; and Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center in Sioux Falls, S.D., which will serve patients in the tri-state area (Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota). Forty patients are currently enrolled in or being evaluated for the trial.
 
NantKwest and ImmunityBio’s combination immunotherapy is designed to harness the body's immune system to target, kill and "remember" cancer cells. The agents in this trial are designed to find pancreatic cancer cells and initiate a large immune response against them. This may allow the body to develop its own antibodies to fight the cancer.
 
“Our research in pancreatic cancer, as well as many other forms of cancer, is focused on how we can recruit and amplify the power of the human body’s own immune system to target and destroy even the most difficult cancer cells,” said Soon-Shiong. “Our goal is to attack the disease aggressively so that we can provide more time and a higher quality of life to patients who today have a very poor prognosis.”

Jeffrey Bouley

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