Keytruda Combo! MSD Recruits German Biotech on Lymphoma PD-1 Trial

26/01/2016 - 2 minutes

Affimed in Heidelberg (Germany) will fund and conduct a clinical trial to investigate the combination of Merck’s (MSD) anti-PD-1 therapy (Keytruda), with Affimed’s proprietary drug for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma.

affimed_keytruda-pdl1_cancerThe phase Ib trial will focus on patients whose disease has relapsed or is refractory to chemotherapy, including treatment with the marketed antibody-drug-conjugate Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin).

To start sometime in the first half of 2016, the agreement is between Affimed and Merck (through a subsidiary), which will supply the Keytruda. There is also the potential for an expansion of the collaboration to include a subsequent Phase III clinical trial.

Keytruda blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands (PD-L1 and PD-L2), thereby activating T-lymphocytes, which may affect both tumor cells and healthy cells.

AFM13, on the other hand, is designed to treat CD30-positive malignancies including Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and T-cell lymphoma (TCL – one of the deadliest types of Cancer) and it is currently in Phase II studies in HL patients.

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