Nektar Therapeutics Inc and Bristol Myers Squibb Co have stopped the global programme for a jointly developed cancer therapy following the failure of two clinical trials. The therapy combined bempegaldesleukin, an experimental interleukin-2 cytokine prodrug, with the checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab).
A synthetic peptide being developed by Bicycle Therapeutics Plc of the UK has shown promising results in a Phase 1/2 study of patients with urothelial carcinoma. The drug, BT8009, is a synthetic short peptide which is being developed for advanced solid tumours associated with Nectin-4 expression. Results for eight out of 34 patients from the study were reported at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in April.
An antibody construct developed by Affimed NV of Germany has generated objective responses from a small group of lymphoma patients – all of whom had exhausted all available treatment options. The Phase 1/2 investigator-led study is being conducted at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in the US. Updated clinical data were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in April.
The Roche Group has disclosed data from a one-year analysis of an open-label Phase 3b trial of its multiple sclerosis treatment Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), a monoclonal antibody targeting CD20-positive B cells, a specific type of immune cell thought to contribute to myelin and nerve cell damage in the disease. The results showed that 75% of Ocrevus-treated patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and primary progressive multiple sclerosis showed no evidence of disease progression.
A Phase 3 trial of a potential first line therapy for a type of small cell lung cancer which has spread to other parts of the body, failed to meet its co-primary endpoint of progression free survival, the developer Roche announced on 30 March.
The trial was testing tiragolumab, an antibody targeting the immune checkpoint TIGIT, together with Tecentriq (atezolizumab) and chemotherapy. The combination therapy was compared with Tecentriq and chemotherapy alone in 490 people with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer.
Orion Corp has decided to concentrate future research on the development of new treatments for cancer and pain and discontinue work in neurodegeneration and rare diseases. The decision, announced on 24 March, comes as the Finnish company and its partner Bayer AG make regulatory applications in the US and EU for a new indication for Orion’s prostate cancer drug Nubeqa (darolutamide).
Germany-based ITM Isotope Technologies Munich SE has secured an equity investment of €33 million from two financial groups in order to advance a radiopharmaceutical for the treatment of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumours, also known as islet cell tumours. The latest financing comes on top of an earlier €25 million investment, bringing the total sums raised by the company for product development up to €58 million.
An allogeneic cell therapy has been successfully used to treat patients 10 years and older with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disease that affects both skeletal and cardiac muscle. The therapy, CAP-1002, was tested in a Phase 2, placebo-controlled trial and effectively reduced the deterioration of upper limb function in the patients as well as improved cardiac function. The results of the study, called HOPE-2, were published in The Lancet on 12 March 2022.
The European Medicines Agency is studying the T cell immune response generated by the currently approved Covid-19 vaccines to find out whether anything can be learned for the future. In a briefing with journalists on 3 March, Marco Cavaleri, head of biological health threats and vaccines strategy, said the review covers all platforms represented by the currently approved vaccines. One of the objectives is to find out if the T cell component of immunity can offer protection against new variants of the virus.
The European Medicines Agency has proposed to extend the use of two messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines for Covid-19 in order to give protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus to younger people. In separate decisions, the agency is recommending that primary vaccination with Spikevax be approved for use in children from the ages of six to 11 years. Spikevax was developed by Moderna Inc. The agency is also proposing that Comirnaty, developed by BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc, be authorised as a booster dose for adolescents from 12 years of age.