Vyriad, a US biotech company, has entered into a collaboration with Germany-based Merck to launch a phase 1 trial of their immuno oncology drugs combination of Voyager-V1 and Bavencio (avelumab), respectively, for metastatic colorectal cancer.
According to Vyriad, Voyager-V1 is an oncolytic virotherapy which is a bullet-shaped, negative-sense RNA virus having low human seroprevalence. The drug has been particularly engineered to replicate selectively in and terminate human cancer cells.
The US clinical stage company said that Voyager-V1 encodes human IFNβ to enhance antitumoral immune responses and improve tumor specificity and also the thyroidal sodium iodide symporter NIS to enable imaging of virus spread.
Three first-in-human Phase 1 clinical studies of the Vyriad immune oncology drug are assessing intravenous and intratumoral methods of administration.
Commenting on the phase 1 trial of the immuno oncology drugs combination, Stephen Russell – CEO of Vyriad, said: “We are delighted to be working with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt Germany, and Pfizer on this innovative combination treatment approach.
“Voyager-V1 is being administered to inflame the tumors, and avelumab has been shown to release the suppression of the T cell-mediated antitumor immune response in preclinical models.”
Avelumab, on the other hand is a human anti-PD-L1 antibody, which is being studied for treatment of multiple solid tumors. The immuno oncology drug is being reviewed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an accelerated approval for the treatment of metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) and also for previously treated patients having locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC).
Avelumab, is also undergoing additional clinical assessment for a variety of tumor types under a global alliance between Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Pfizer.
Chris Boshoff – Senior Vice President and Head of Immuno-Oncology, Early Development and Translational Oncology, Pfizer Global Product Development, on the phase 1 trial of the immuno oncology drugs combination, said: “A primary focus of our clinical development program for avelumab is to evaluate the role and potential of immunotherapy combination regimens, in an effort to support patients with challenging cancers.
“We look forward to working with Vyriad to explore this novel combination for patients with solid tumors.”
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