Cancer Research UK agreement to advance cancer immunotherapy candidate

pharmafile | July 22, 2022 | News story | Medical Communications  

Cancer Research UK and Sosei Heptares have announced the signing of an agreement to bring Sosei Heptares’ cancer immunotherapy drug candidate into a first-in-human trial.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest private funder of cancer research.

Under the Clinical Trial and Licence Agreement (CTLA), Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development will sponsor, design, and execute a Phase I/IIa clinical trial of HTL0039732, a novel selective EP4 antagonist. The candidate will be evaluate both as a combination therapy and a monotherapy.

The Director of Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, Dr Nigel Blackburn, said: “People with these cancer types have, to date, largely missed out on some of the remarkable advances in the field of immunotherapy.

“We are therefore thrilled to be partnering with Sosei Heptares to bring their novel immunotherapy candidate into human trials. The hope is that with more trials like this, all cancer patients will eventually be able to benefit from this potentially life-saving form of cancer treatment.”

HTL0039732 has been proposed for a range of cancers including microsatellite stable colorectal, gastroesophageal, head and neck and castrate resistant prostate cancer. Approximately 80-85% of colorectal cancer patients are classified as ‘Microsatellite Stable’, meaning they have low instability in short, repeated sequences of DNA in their tumours, known as microsatellites.

MSS tumours often exist in an environment that suppresses the immune system, and do not respond well to immunotherapies.

Many people with these types of cancer have missed out on the benefits that common immunotherapies, such as PD1/L1 checkpoint inhibitors, have brought to other cancer types. The hope is that this trial could find that HTL0039732 is an effective immunotherapy for these under-served patient populations.

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