Incyte, AstraZeneca announce trial of drug combination

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Incyte Corporation and MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s global biologics research and development arm, announced the expansion of their clinical collaboration on a combination of drugs that would treat a type of lung cancer.

Incyte is based near Wilmington, with Medimmune located in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Rockville, MD.

As part of the agreement, the companies will evaluate epacadostat, Incyte’s investigational selective IDO1 enzyme inhibitor, in combination with AstraZeneca’s Imfinzi (durvalumab), a human monoclonal antibody.

The trial will be watched closely, since the potential of Incyte’s epacadostat has generated great interest in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Both Incyte and AstraZeneca are focusing on cancer as an area of concentration. Incyte’s blockbuster drug Jakafi treats blood cancer and other disorders.

The collaboration for the study population allows the two companies to conduct a Phase 3 trial in patients with stage 3 unresectable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in cases where the disease has not progressed following platinum-based chemotherapy concurrent with radiation therapy.

“We are pleased to expand our ongoing clinical collaboration withAstraZenecaand to further explore the potential of epacadostat in patients with locally-advanced unresectable lung cancer,” saidSteven Stein, M.D., chief medical Officer,Incyte. “We look forward to beginning this additional pivotal trial for epacadostat, as we seek to position IDO1 enzyme inhibition as a key component of combination immunotherapy.”

“Imfinzi has shown exciting clinical potential in treating patients with locally-advanced lung cancer. We are pleased to build on recent data from the PACIFIC trial to further explore how Imfinzi, in combination with an IDO1 enzyme inhibitor, could provide additional benefit to patients with locally-advanced lung cancer,” saidSean Bohan, executive vice president,Global Medicines Developmentand chief medical officer,AstraZeneca.

The Phase 3 trial, which will be co-funded by the two companies and will be conducted byAstraZeneca, is expected to begin enrolling patients in the first-half of 2018. This agreement builds on an existing clinical collaboration for epacadostat and Imfinzi,announced by both companies inMay 2014.

The type of Stage III lung cancer that is part of the study is estimated to affect around 105,000 patients in seven leading markets in 2016. The current standard of care is chemotherapy and radiation followed by active surveillance to monitor for progression. The prognosis remains poor and long-term survival rates are low.

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