TILT Biotherapeutics says the first U.S. patient has been dosed in its ovarian cancer trial using its oncolytic adenovirus, TILT-123.
The company said TILT-123 has the potential to be first-in-class for this indication.
The open-label, phase I, dose-escalation, multicenter, and multinational, clinical trial of TILT-123 in combination with MSD’s (a tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ., USA) anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab), is for platinum resistant or refractory ovarian cancer (PROTA, also called TILT-T563).
The U.S. patient, treated at the Mayo Clinic, should complete enrollment in the first cohort of three patients, the other two located in Finland. The phase I trial is expected to enroll up to 15 patients.
The company’s European and U.S. open phase I clinical programs now cover several cancer types including ovarian cancer, head and neck cancer, and melanoma. In September, the company announced a new collaboration and supply agreement with MSD to evaluate TILT-123 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with immune checkpoint inhibitor refractory non-small cell lung cancer.
Need for better therapies
TILT Biotherapeutics’ CEO, Akseli Hemminki, a cancer clinician who has treated hundreds of cancer patients with earlier versions of oncolytic viruses, said: “Ovarian cancer is a killer disease with a pressing need for better therapies. There are no oncolytic viruses or check point inhibitors approved for use in that indication.
“The first U.S. patient dosed is a significant milestone as we strive to make a difference using our armed oncolytic viruses in this difficult to treat disease. It’s a pleasure to work with the prestigious Mayo Clinic to deliver such innovation with impact. We are investing in our own U.S. operations and opening U.S. trial sites by the end of the year, as we advance towards phase 2 trials.”
TILT’s approach revolves around the use of cancer cell specific oncolytic adenoviruses, armed with cytokines and other molecules to boost the patient’s T-cell immune response to better enable it to find and destroy cancer cells.