Aduro and Merck to evaluate combo of former’s CRS-207 with latter’s Keytruda

Second Phase 2 clinical collaboration between the two companies is for the treatment of patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma

DDNews Staff
BERKELEY, Calif.—Aduro Biotech Inc. a biopharmaceutical company with three distinct immunotherapy technologies, has announced the expansion of its clinical collaboration with Merck & Co. (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada) to include an additional Phase 2 clinical trial. 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 2 clinical collaboration with Merck, through a subsidiary, to evaluate the combination of CRS-207 with pembrolizumab for the treatment of gastric cancer.
 
“Data from our ongoing Phase 1 clinical trial of CRS-207 with standard chemotherapy as frontline treatment for malignant pleural mesothelioma have been very encouraging, including disease control in 94 percent of patients treated with the CRS-207/chemotherapy combination,” said Dr. Natalie Sacks, chief medical officer at Aduro.  “Based on these clinical data, as well as data from preclinical studies that demonstrate synergistic activity of CRS-207 and anti-PD-1 therapy, we look forward to initiating a Phase 2 trial to evaluate the CRS-207/pembrolizumab combination in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma who have failed prior treatment.”
 
The multicenter, single-arm, open-label Phase 2 study is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of CRS-207 with pembrolizumab in adults with previously treated MPM.  The trial is expected to involve approximately 35 patients who have failed one to two prior treatments.
 
Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects the smooth layer of mesothelial cells that surround the chest, lungs, heart and abdomen. Malignant pleural mesothelioma, which affects the thin balloon-shaped lining of the lungs, is the most common form of this disease and accounts for approximately 13,000 cases a year in the United States, European Union and Japan. MPM is an aggressive disease with a poor prognosis. Most MPM patients are not candidates for surgical resection. Currently, there is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy for second- or third-line treatment of MPM. 
 
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.

DDNews Staff

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