AstraZeneca and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals to Combine and Evaluate Pipeline Immunotherapeutic Agents

AstraZeneca and Peregrine Pharmaceuticals to Combine and Evaluate Pipeline Immunotherapeutic Agents
Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently signed an agreement with AstraZeneca to collaborate on a cancer immunotherapy clinical trial set to evaluate the former’s investigational phosphatidylserine (PS)-signaling pathway inhibitor, bavituximab, together with AstraZeneca’s investigational anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab (MEDI4736), assessing the combination’s safety and efficacy in the treatment of multiple solid tumors.
The two companies have agreed on a non-exclusive collaboration to study the drug combination when administered with chemotherapy. Phase I will aim to identify a recommended dose regimen and Phase Ib will attempt to determine the safety and efficacy profile of the combination. The agreement stipulates Peregrine will be responsible for carrying out the initial clinical trial.
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.”
The two investigational drugs work in distinct ways to boost the body’s ability to fight off cancer. Bavituximab specifically helps regulate the activity of an immunosuppressive molecule on tumor cells’ surface called phosphatidylserine. This leads to increased T-cell activity against tumor cells. MEDI4736, a monoclonal antibody, targets programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), which aids tumor cells hide from the immune system. Preclinical data has shown evidence of the two treatments’ potentially groundbreaking synergistic abilities.
“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 AstraZeneca’s durvalumab,” said Steven W. King, president and chief executive officer of Peregrine. “AstraZeneca is a recognized 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.