TARRYTOWN, N.Y. and PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) today announced a clinical study agreement for a Phase 1b/2a immuno-oncology trial. The study will be conducted by Inovio in patients with newly-diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and will evaluate Regeneron’s PD-1 inhibitor, REGN2810, in combination with Inovio’s INO-5401 T cell activating immunotherapy encoding multiple antigens and INO-9012, an immune activator encoding IL-12.
The open-label trial, which is expected to begin later this year, is designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination therapy in approximately 50 patients. The study will be conducted at 30 U.S. sites and the primary endpoints are safety and tolerability. The study will also evaluate immunological impact, progression-free survival and overall survival.
GBM is a devastating disease for both patients and caregivers. It is the most aggressive brain cancer and its prognosis is extremely poor, despite a limited number of new therapies approved over the last ten years. The median overall survival for patients receiving standard of care therapy is approximately 15 months and the average five-year survival rate is less than three percent.
“The unmet need for effective therapies in GBM remains extremely high. Certain immune checkpoint inhibitors have shown efficacy in certain cancers, but evidence increasingly suggests that the benefit of checkpoint inhibitors can be enhanced when used in combination with therapies that generate T cells,” said David Reardon, MD, Clinical Director of the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Inovio has an innovative immunotherapy platform which has shown the ability to generate antigen-specific T cells in disease areas including cancer. We look forward to exploring the potential of combining a T cell generating immunotherapy encoding multiple antigens with REGN2810, a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the trial will be solely conducted and funded by Inovio, based upon a mutually agreed upon study design, and Regeneron will supply REGN2810. Inovio and Regeneron will jointly conduct immunological analyses in support of the study. Regeneron, in collaboration with Sanofi, is developing REGN2810 both alone and in combination with other therapies for the treatment of various cancers.
“Regeneron’s approach to oncology includes evaluating the combination of innovative therapies that act on diverse pathways and targets,” said Israel Lowy, MD, PhD, Vice President of Translation Sciences and Oncology, Regeneron. “Using our PD-1 inhibitor as a therapeutic backbone alongside Inovio’s T cell-generating therapies offers a new path for exploration and heightens the potential to develop new, desperately-needed treatment options for patients.”
“I am a strong believer in this combination regimen approach in immuno-oncology: use Inovio immunotherapies to generate killer T-cells to turn ‘cold’ tumors into ‘hot’ tumors, then block T cell suppression via checkpoint inhibition,” said J. Joseph Kim, PhD, Inovio’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This step with INO-5401 is very important for us in 2017, as we believe INO-5401 has the potential to be a powerful cancer immunotherapeutic in combination with promising checkpoint inhibitors such as Regeneron’s REGN2810, and we look forward to investigating its potential for GBM and multiple other challenging cancers.”
Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer. GBM is usually found in the area of the brain which controls some of the most advanced processes such as speech and emotions. GBM treatment is often limited by the tumor location and ability of a patient to tolerate surgery. Consequently, it is a particularly difficult cancer to treat. Worldwide there are an estimated 240,000 cases of brain and nervous system tumors per year; GBM is the most common and most lethal of these tumors.
INO-5401 includes Inovio’s SynCon® antigens for WT1, hTERT and PSMA and has the potential to be a powerful cancer immunotherapy in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. The National Cancer Institute previously highlighted WT1, hTERT and PSMA among a list of attractive cancer antigens, designating them as high priorities for cancer immunotherapy development. WT1 was at the top of the list. The hTERT antigen relates to 85 percent of cancers, and WT1 and PSMA antigens are also widely prevalent in many cancers.
About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Regeneron (NASDAQ: REGN) is a leading science-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, invents, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions. Regeneron commercializes medicines for eye diseases, high LDL-cholesterol, atopic dermatitis and a rare inflammatory condition and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, pain, cancer and infectious diseases. For additional information about the company, please visit www.regeneron.com or follow @Regeneron on Twitter.
About Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Inovio is taking immunotherapy to the next level in the fight against cancer and infectious diseases. We are the only immunotherapy company that has reported generating T cells in vivo in high quantity that are fully functional and whose killing capacity correlates with relevant clinical outcomes with a favorable safety profile. With an expanding portfolio of immune therapies, the company is advancing a growing preclinical and clinical stage product pipeline. Partners and collaborators include Regeneron, MedImmune, The Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, DARPA, GeneOne Life Science, Plumbline Life Sciences, ApolloBio Corporation, Drexel University, NIH, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Military HIV Research Program, and Laval University. For more information, visit www.inovio.com.