AstraZeneca and Peregrine will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis, to evaluate the combination of bavituximab and durvalumab with chemotherapy as a potential treatment in various solid tumours. The Phase I part of the trial is expected to establish a recommended dose regimen for the combination and the Phase Ib part of the trial will assess the safety and efficacy of the investigational combination. The initial trial will be conducted by Peregrine.
Bavituximab and durvalumab are investigational immunotherapies with different mechanisms that assist the body's immune system in fighting cancer. Bavituximab targets and modulates the activity of phosphatidylserine, a highly immune-suppressive molecule expressed broadly on the surface of cells in the tumour microenvironment. The treatment increases activated T-cells in tumours and fights cancer by reversing the immunosuppressive environment that many tumours establish in order to proliferate. Durvalumab is a monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumours avoid detection by the immune system. Preclinical data have demonstrated that by combining the enhanced T-cell mediated anti-tumour activity of bavituximab with checkpoint inhibitors like PD-L1 antibodies, the ability of tumour-specific T-cells to continue attacking the tumor is prolonged.
Robert Iannone, Head of Immuno-Oncology, Global Medicines Development, at AstraZeneca said: "We believe that combination therapy in immuno-oncology has the potential to be a novel and highly effective approach to treating cancer. Our partnership with Peregrine provides the opportunity to explore an exciting, novel combination that could deliver important clinical benefit to patients across a range of cancers."
Steven W. King, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peregrine said: "Data generated to date have shown significant potential for combining bavituximab with agents targeting the PD-1/PDL-1 pathway and we're excited to further explore this approach in studies with durvalumab. AstraZeneca, with its biologics arm MedImmune, is a recognised leader in the immuno-oncology field and this collaboration will play a key role as we continue to fully explore the potential of bavituximab in combination immunotherapies for a variety of clinical applications."
Bavituximab is an investigational chimeric monoclonal antibody that targets phosphatidylserine (PS). Signals from PS inhibit the ability of immune cells to recognise and fight tumours. Bavituximab, the lead compound in Peregrine's immuno-oncology development programme, blocks PS to remove this immunosuppressive signal and sends an alternate immune activating signal. Targeting PS with bavituximab has been shown to shift the functions of immune cells in tumours, resulting in robust anti-tumour immune responses.
About durvalumab (MEDI4736)
Durvalumab is an investigational human monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumours avoid detection by the immune system. Durvalumab blocks these signals, countering the tumour's immune-evading tactics. Durvalumab is being developed, alongside other immunotherapies, to empower the patient's immune system and attack the cancer.
About Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company with a pipeline of novel drug candidates in clinical trials for the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. The company's lead immunotherapy candidate, bavituximab, is in Phase III development for the treatment of second-line non-small lung cancer (the "SUNRISE trial") along with several investigator-sponsored trials evaluating other treatment combinations and additional oncology indications. The company is also advancing a molecular imaging agent, 124I-PGN650, in an exploratory clinical trial for the imaging of multiple solid tumor types. Peregrine also has in-house cGMP manufacturing capabilities through its wholly-owned subsidiary Avid Bioservices, Inc., which provides development and biomanufacturing services for both Peregrine and third-party customers.
About AstraZeneca in Oncology
Oncology is a therapeutic area in which AstraZeneca has a deep-rooted heritage. It will be potentially transformational for the company's future, becoming the sixth growth platform. Our vision is to help patients by redefining the cancer treatment paradigm and one day eliminate cancer as a cause of death. By 2020, we are aiming to bring six new cancer medicines to patients.
Our broad pipeline of next-generation medicines is focused on four main disease areas - ovarian, lung, breast and haematological cancers. These are being targeted through four key platforms - immuno-oncology, the genetic drivers of cancer and resistance, DNA damage repair and antibody drug conjugates.
MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across key therapeutic areas, including respiratory, inflammation and autoimmunity; cardiovascular and metabolic disease; oncology; neuroscience; and infection and vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca's three global R&D centres.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.