Merck, Pfizer collaborate on anti-cancer immunotherapy

This multi-center, open-label clinical study is expected to begin in 2015. Pfizer will conduct the study

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Pfizer will conduct the study

Pfizer and Merck & Co have entered into an agreement to explore the therapeutic potential of the combination of Pfizer's crizotinib (XALKORI) with Merck's investigational anti-PD-1 antibody pembrolizumab, in a Phase 1b clinical trial. The study will evaluate the safety and tolerability of the combination in patients with ALK-positive advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

"This collaboration between Pfizer and Merck is just one example of the willingness of sponsors to work together in an effort to accelerate progress against some of the most difficult-to-treat cancers," said Dr Mace Rothenberg, senior vice president of clinical development and medical affairs and chief medical officer for Pfizer Oncology. "Understanding the effects of combining one drug, XALKORI, which inhibits an abnormally activated enzyme in patients with ALK-positive metastatic lung cancer, with the investigational drug, pembrolizumab, which harnesses the body's immune system to fight cancer, is vital if we are to continue to advance the care of lung cancer patients."

This multi-center, open-label clinical study is expected to begin in 2015. Pfizer will conduct the study.

According to Dr Eric Rubin, vice president, oncology, Merck Research Laboratories, "We are pleased to build upon our ongoing collaboration with Pfizer to evaluate potential combination regimens incorporating Merck's investigational immunotherapy pembrolizumab. Evidence from early studies of pembrolizumab monotherapy together with XALKORI's proven targeted therapeutic approach provides the scientific rationale for evaluating this combination for the treatment of lung cancer."

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

 

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