BioInvent International has entered into a clinical trial partnership and supply agreement with Merck subsidiary MSD International for a Phase I/IIa study of a combination regimen for cancer treatment.

Under the deal, BioInvent’s anti-TNFR2 monoclonal antibody BI-1910 will be assessed, along with Merck’s KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab), in the clinical trial.

This innovative, adaptive design trial will explore the potential of this combination regimen as a cancer treatment in Europe and the US.

The single-agent arm of the Phase I/IIa BI-1910 trial commenced in December last year.

Initial findings from the study are anticipated by the end of this year.

Under the supply deal, MSD will provide the KEYTRUDA required for the trial.

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BI-1910 is the second tumour necrosis factor receptor 2 (TNFR2) programme of BioInvent to enter the clinics, following BI-1808, which is presently being analysed in a Phase IIa trial.

It is distinguished by its agonist approach to cancer treatment, setting it apart from BI-1808, another anti-TNFR2 antibody of BioInvent.

Both antibodies were selected from a large family of binders produced using BioInvent’s FIRST technology platform.

BioInvent CEO Martin Welschof said: “We are delighted to enter into another clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with MSD to investigate the unique features of BI-1910 in combination with KEYTRUDA. This trial will build on our deep understanding of the TNFR2 biology as we move two differentiated monoclonal antibodies through clinical development.

“This is our fifth product in ongoing clinical trials, demonstrating the capacity of BioInvent’s technology to identify novel, first-in-class therapeutic cancer targets.”

Last June, BioInvent received investigational new drug (IND) approval to initiate a Phase I/IIa study of BI-1910.