The FINANCIAL — Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Pfizer and Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced on December 4 that they have entered into a collaboration agreement to evaluate avelumab, an investigational fully human anti-PD-L1 IgG1 monoclonal antibody, in combination with Syndax’s entinostat, an investigational oral small molecule that targets immune regulatory cells (myeloid-derived suppressor cells and regulatory T-cells), in patients with heavily pre-treated, recurrent ovarian cancer.
Avelumab is currently under clinical investigation across a broad range of tumor types by the alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer. This is an exclusive agreement between the alliance and Syndax to study the combination of these two investigational agents in ovarian cancer. Syndax will be responsible for conducting the Phase Ib/II clinical trial in ovarian cancer, according to Pfizer.
“This collaboration with Syndax adds a new dimension to our quest to pursue combination immuno-oncology regimens based on compelling preclinical rationale and the potential to generate clinical results superior to those achieved with either agent alone,” said Dr. Mace Rothenberg, Senior Vice President of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer for Pfizer Oncology.
“Combination therapy is the next frontier in immuno-oncology and a key strategy for the alliance,” said Dr. Luciano Rossetti, Head of Global Research & Development of the biopharma business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “Avelumab as a monotherapy has already shown promising early activity in ovarian cancer in a Phase Ib trial, and through our ongoing research and this collaboration with Syndax, we will hopefully be able to make a real difference to women fighting this complex cancer.”
“We are delighted to be working with the alliance to explore the potential benefits of entinostat in combination with avelumab for ovarian cancer patients,” said Dr. Briggs W. Morrison, Syndax’s Chief Executive Officer. “The continued interest from leading companies in investigating the potential of entinostat in combination with checkpoint inhibitors reflects positively on the potential mechanism of action of the molecule, and also reinforces our clinical strategy to explore entinostat for the benefit of patients across a broad range of solid tumor indications.”
Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.