AstraZeneca, Lilly Expand Partnership to Explore Drug Combinations for Solid Tumors

AstraZeneca, Lilly Expand Partnership to Explore Drug Combinations for Solid Tumors

Partners Eli Lilly and Company and AstraZeneca recently announced they will be extending their current immuno-oncology agreement to develop new combination treatments for solid tumors.

According to the amended agreement, the two parties will be evaluating the safety and efficacy profiles of a number of new combined treatments formed from both company’s portfolios. While both companies will contribute to all research and development activities, Lilly will be in charge of conducting the drug studies. Financial terms of the expanded collaboration were not disclosed.

One of the AstraZeneca-owned drugs, durvalumab (MEDI4736), will be combined with each of the following immune-acting agents from Lilly:

  • TGF-beta kinase inhibitor, galunisertib.
  • CXCR4 peptide antagonist.
  • An anti-CSF-1R monoclonal antibody, which will also be assessed with AstraZeneca’s anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody, tremelimumab.

Both parties will also be exploring several other drug combinations that work by targeting tumor drivers and resistance mechanisms, such as:

  • Lilly’s abemaciclib (CDK4 and 6 small molecule inhibitor) with Faslodex, AstraZeneca’s approved selective estrogen receptor down regulator (SERD).
  • Both CYRAMZA® (ramucirumab) and necitumumab, Lilly’s anti-VEGFR and anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies, respectively, with AZD9291, AstraZeneca’s third-generation EGFR inhibitor.

Richard Gaynor, MD, senior vice president, product development and medical affairs for Lilly Oncology, said, “The expansion of Lilly’s research partnership with AstraZeneca will explore the far-reaching potential of combining novel targeted therapies. Our respective pipelines afford multiple targeted options to create innovative combinations in immuno-oncology and beyond, that we hope will lead to future cancer treatment options.”

Mondher Mahjoubi, senior vice president, global product strategy for oncology at AstraZeneca, further added, “The extension of our collaboration with Lilly further supports our combination-focused oncology strategy and adds to our broad development program across small molecules and immunotherapies.”

This agreement follows the companies’ announcement of a Phase I clinical study designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy profile of durvalumab/ramucirumab in patients with solid tumors.

Clinical trials are being conducted by Ludwig Cancer Research (Ludwig) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) to evaluate Durvalumab, a checkpoint blockade antibody, alone and in combination with Tremelimumab, an anti-CTLA-4 antibody, for the treatment of brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and several solid tumours.