Israeli drug development company BiolineRX Ltd. (Nasdaq: BLRX); TASE:BLRX) today announced that it would cooperate with US pharmaceutical firm MSD (Merck) in the oncology field. Cooperation will include a Phase II clinical test of BiolineRx's BL-8040 drug in combination with MSD's KEYTRUDA anti-PD-1 therapy in the treatment of patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. There is no licensing agreement or sale of rights with financial significance, but the two companies have an option to extend the cooperation between them to include a pivotal registration study in preparation for registration of the drug combination.
BiolineRx will carry out the trial, which is slated for mid-year. The trials will evaluate the safety and efficacy of this combination and its tolerance.
"We are extremely happy to collaborate with MSD, a pioneer and world leader in cancer immunotherapy," said BiolineRX CEO Dr Kinneret Savitsky. "Because certain tumors exhibit only a modest response to existing immunotherapies, we are increasingly seeing clinical studies involving combinations of immuno-oncology agents with other classes of drugs. We are initiating this study with the hope that it will show that the combination of BL-8040 with KEYTRUDA has the potential to expand the benefit of immunotherapy to cancer types currently resistant to immuno-oncology treatments, such as pancreatic cancer."
MSD Research Laboratories VP and therapeutic area head oncology early-stage development Dr. Eric Rubin said, "Evaluating the potential of combination therapies through strategic collaborations in difficult-to-treat tumor types continues to be an important part of our immuno-oncology clinical development program."
Following news of the collaboration, BiolineRX's share price was up 9% on the TASE and 25% on Nasdaq.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on January 12, 2016
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