AstraZeneca, Incyte partner on immuno-oncology MEDI4736, INCB24360 combination study

AstraZeneca announced Wednesday that its MedImmune unit entered a deal to study the anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor MEDI4736 in combination with Incyte's oral IDO1 inhibitor INCB24360. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president at MedImmune, remarked that "immuno-oncology is one of the most exciting areas in our industry," adding "that the Incyte partnership "is further evidence of our belief that combination therapies have the potential to be one of the most effective ways of treating cancer."

Under the agreed terms, the companies will co-fund a Phase I/II study of MEDI4736 and INCB24360 in multiple solid tumours including metastatic melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and pancreatic cancer. AstraZeneca noted that the Phase I portion of the trial will establish a recommended dose regimen of both MEDI4736 and INCB24360, while the Phase II part will assess the safety and efficacy of the combination. The drugmaker indicated that preclinical evidence suggests that combining the two agents may lead to an enhanced anti-tumour immune response.

AstraZeneca added that other immuno-oncology combination trials, including MEDI4736 with Iressa (gefitinib) and with the CTLA-4 inhibitor tremelimumab, have recently been initiated, while further studies are planned to start soon. The company has also started a late-stage trial of MEDI4736 in NSCLC, suggesting earlier this month that sales of the drug could reach around $6.5 billion.

For related analysis, see Spotlight On: The great immuno-oncology race – can everyone be a winner?

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