AstraZeneca and Lilly expand immuno-oncology research collaboration with new combinations

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The FINANCIAL — AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) on October 22 announced an extension to their existing immuno-oncology collaboration exploring novel combination therapies for the treatment of patients with solid tumours.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, AstraZeneca and Lilly will evaluate the safety and efficacy of a range of additional combinations across the companies’ complementary portfolios. Lilly will lead the execution of the studies, while both companies will contribute resources. Additional details of the collaboration, including tumours to be studied and financial terms, were not disclosed, according to AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca’s anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab (MEDI4736), will be combined with Lilly molecules that target the immune system, including:

TGF-beta kinase inhibitor, galunisertib;

CXCR4 peptide antagonist;

An anti-CSF-1R monoclonal antibody, which will be assessed additionally with AstraZeneca’s anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibody, tremelimumab.

The companies will also explore other combinations targeting tumour drivers and resistance mechanisms, including:

Lilly’s abemaciclib (CDK4 and 6 small molecule inhibitor) with Faslodex, AstraZeneca’s marketed selective oestrogen receptor down regulator (SERD);

Both CYRAMZA® (ramucirumab) and necitumumab, Lilly’s anti-VEGFR and anti-EGFR monoclonal antibodies respectively, with AZD9291, AstraZeneca’s investigational third generation EGFR inhibitor.

Mondher Mahjoubi, Senior Vice President, Global Product Strategy for Oncology at AstraZeneca, said: “The extension of our collaboration with Lilly further supports our combination-focused oncology strategy and adds to our broad development programme across small molecules and immunotherapies.”

Richard Gaynor, MD, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Medical Affairs at 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.”

Earlier this year, Lilly and AstraZeneca announced a Phase I clinical trial collaboration to evaluate the safety and preliminary efficacy of combining durvalumab and ramucirumab as a treatment for patients with advanced solid tumours.

In addition to combinations within the company’s own pipeline of immuno-oncology and small molecule investigational medicines, AstraZeneca and its biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, have a broad programme of combination clinical trials underway with a range of partners.


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