Study Evaluating ADXS-PSA Launches Third Dose-Escalation Cohort
Part B Combination with 51 Patients to Begin Mid-Year
Advaxis, Inc.(ADXS), a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies, and Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK), today announced that they have completed the first two dose-escalation cohorts and launched the third dose-escalation cohort in their KEYNOTE-046 clinical trial. The Phase 1/2 study is evaluating the combination of ADXS-PSA (ADXS31-142) and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), the first anti-PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) therapy approved in the United States, in patients with previously treated, metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC).
The KEYNOTE-046 trial is the first-in-human study of Advaxis’ Lmimmunotherapy candidate for prostate cancer. It is the second study initiated to evaluate the use of KEYTRUDA in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.
“We are one step closer to evaluating our Lm platform in combination with a PD-1 antibody and are excited to launch this next cohort,” said Daniel J. O’Connor, President and Chief Executive Officer at Advaxis. “We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with Merck in pursuit of finding a treatment option for a form of prostate cancer where few options exist.”
KEYNOTE-046 is a multicenter, dose determining, open-label Phase 1/2 study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ADXS-PSA as a monotherapy and in combination with KEYTRUDA in 51 mCRPC patients. Part A of the study is a dose escalating study designed to establish the maximum tolerated dose of ADXS-PSA as a monotherapy. Part B of the study will commence mid-year and evaluate ADXS-PSA in combination with KEYTRUDA, followed by an expansion cohort phase. The primary objective is to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the two immunotherapies, with the secondary objective to evaluate anti-tumor activity and progression-free survival.
The companies plan to submit an abstract to a major medical meeting on the dose-escalation portion of the study in the second half of the year. Further information about KEYNOTE-046 can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov, using Identifier NCT02325557.
About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the second most common form of cancer affecting men in the United States: an estimated one in seven will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed and about 26,120 men are expected to die of the disease this year.
ADXS-PSA is an Lm Technology™ product candidate that is a multi-function immunotherapy designed to target prostate cancer. ADXS-PSA combines potent innate immune stimulation, triggering of STING receptors, and induction of T-cell response targeting prostate specific antigen (PSA) with tumor microenvironment effects. In a preclinical analysis this approach also inhibits the Treg and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) that contribute to immunologic tolerance of prostate cancer. Preclinical studies have shown ADXS constructs to be synergistic with checkpoint inhibitors like Keytruda.
About KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab)
KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) is a humanized monoclonal antibody that blocks the interaction between PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2. By binding to the PD-1 receptor and blocking the interaction with the receptor ligands, KEYTRUDA releases the PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the immune response, including the anti-tumor immune response.
KEYTRUDA is indicated 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 unresectable or metastatic melanoma and disease progression following ipilimumab and, if BRAF V600 mutation positive, a BRAF inhibitor. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on tumor response rate and durability of response. An improvement in survival or disease-related symptoms has not yet been established. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.