Horizon Pharma plc, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to identifying, developing, acquiring and commercializing differentiated products that address unmet medical needs, has just announced it entered a collaborative agreement with Fox Chase Cancer Center to evaluate ACTIMMUNE (interferon gamma-1b) combined with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors in different types of cancer, including advanced urothelial carcinoma (bladder cancer) and renal cell carcinoma.
Preclinical studies have shown the ability of interferon gamma to boost cellular PD-L1 expression on endothelial cells and some tumor cells. Scientists are hypothesizing that this enhancement of PD-L1 expression on tumor cells may be the key to use interferon gamma to enhance PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitors.
“This collaboration with Fox Chase Cancer Center is an important step in determining if the addition of ACTIMMUNE to a treatment regimen including a PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitor can enhance the effect of these agents and potentially improve patient outcomes,” said Jeffrey Sherman, M.D., FACP, executive vice president, research and development and chief medical officer, Horizon Pharma plc. “Through this research, our goal is to gain a better understanding of the potential for ACTIMMUNE along with PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors in different patient populations and disease areas.”
The two companies intend to launch the first joint study, which will be a dose-ranging assessment to identify which dose of combined ACTIMMUNE with PD-1/PD-L1 is safest and most effective. Once the optimum dual dose is identified, researchers will proceed to clinical trials involving patients diagnosed with metastatic bladder and renal cell carcinomas. In the event of positive findings, the companies are determined to proceed with further investigations.
ACTIMMUNE (interferon gamma-1b) is a biologically manufactured protein similar to the one naturally produced by the body to help prevent infection. ACTIMMUNE is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in two rare diseases. It is indicated to reduce the frequency and severity of serious infections associated with Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD), a genetic disorder that affects the functioning of some cells of the immune system. In addition, ACTIMMUNE is indicated to slow the worsening of severe, malignant osteopetrosis (SMO), a genetic disorder that affects normal bone formation.