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Five Companies Present Exciting News at ESMO 2021

Via: |Published: Sep 17, 2021 By Mark Terry

Biopharma companies big and small are presenting exciting clinical studies at the European Society for Medical Oncology Congress 2021.

Here’s a look at just some of those highlights:

Amgen announced the first combination study results from the Phase Ib/II CodeBreaK 101 trial. The data demonstrated that combining Lumakras (sotorasib) with Vectibix (panitumumab), Amgen’s monoclonal antibody EGFR inhibitor, demonstrated encouraging efficacy and safety in KRAS G12C-mutated advanced colorectal cancer (CRC). The ORR was 27% among 26 patients in the efficacy analysis, while disease control rate (DCR) was 81%. In the expansion cohort of patients who had not received sotorasib with refractory CRC, 33% had a response.

“We are excited by these CodeBreaK 101 data, which show encouraging response rates that were much higher than the 9.7% response rate observed with Lumakras monotherapy and highlight the importance of combination therapy for patients with KRAS G12C-mutated advanced colorectal cancer,” said Amgen Executive Vice President, Research and Development David M. Reese.

Merck presented new Phase III results from several studies of its checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab), including KEYNOTE-716 in melanoma, KEYNOTE-826 in recurrent, persistent or metastatic cervical cancer, and KEYNOTE-355 in metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. It also presented data on Lynparza (Olaparib, in collaboration with AstraZeneca) in ovarian cancer, and Lenvima (Lenvatinib, in collaboration with Eisai) in endometrial carcinoma and renal carcinoma. It also presented data for Welireg (belzutifan).

“Merck has made significant progress in demonstrating the impact our medicines can have on people living with certain cancers, especially with those with hard-to-treat, metastatic disease,” said Roy Baynes, senior vice president and head of global clinical development, chief medical officer, Merck Research Laboratories. “We continue to build on this knowledge as we advance important scientific research evaluating our medicines in early stages of disease, and in combination with other treatments, to help improve patient outcomes.”

Novartis presented updated median overall survival (OS) results for Kisqali (ribociclib) in combination with endocrine therapy, the longest survival data to date reported in premenopausal women with HR+HER2- metastatic breast cancer. The data was from the Phase III MONALEESA-7 trial. The company also reported late-breaking data from the Phase III COMBI-I trial of spartalizumab in combination with Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) compared to Tafinlar and Makinist alone. The trial did not meet its primary endpoint of investigator-assessed progression-free survival (PFS) in the triple-therapy group.

Aileron Therapeutics presented new clinical data supporting ALRN-6924’s best-in-class potential as a chemoprotective agent; that is to say, it reduces neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia caused by chemotherapy, and also decreases the need for blood transfusions. Aileron presented final results from the completed Phase Ib trial in small cell lung cancer (SCLC) patients receiving second-line topotecan; the company also presented preliminary results from the ongoing Phase I trial in healthy volunteers, which confirmed the drug’s optimal dose, its mechanism of action, and time to onset, duration and magnitude of its pharmacodynamic effects.

“The data presented at ESMO further strengthen our belief in ALRN-6924’s best-in-class potential in the emerging chemoprotection space,” said Manuel Aivado, president and chief executive officer of Aileron. “With our precision medicine strategy, our vision is to bring the first selective chemoprotective agent to all patients with p53-mutated cancer while ensuring no interruption of chemotherapy.”

Oncxerna Therapeutics announced new clinical and biomarker data from its bavituximab program of ONCG100, an open-label phase II clinical trial of bavituximab combined with Merck’s Keytruda in advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Bavituximab is a potential first-in-class phosphatidylserine (PS) inhibitor designed to reverse immune suppression. Patients in the trial underwent pre-treatment biopsies to allow for pre-specified biomarker analysis via the Xerna TME Panel.

“Predictive biomarkers are an urgent need in gastric cancer where treatment options are limited and only a small fraction of patients’ treatment is biomarker-driven,” said Ian Chau, consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Marsden Hospital. “This study used OncXerna’s novel RNA expression-based algorithm to classify the biology of the tumor microenvironment of individual gastric cancer patients and prospectively tested the hypothesis that patient tumors classified as having a high immune score by the Xerna TME Panel are more likely to benefit from treatment with bavituximab in combination with pembrolizumab [Keytruda]. The results support this hypothesis by showing that the Xerna TME Panel biomarker was predictive of improved treatment response rates.”

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