Israeli company BioLineRx has started a Phase Ib/II clinical trial of its BL-8040 in combination with Roche Group subsidiary Genentech's atezolizumab (Tecentriq) to treat pancreatic cancer.
BL-8040 is a short peptide antagonist of CXCR4 chemokine receptor involved in tumour progression, angiogenesis, metastasis and cell survival, while atezolizumab is a humanised monoclonal antibody that blocks interactions by binding to PD-L1 in tumour cells and tumour infiltrating immune cells.
The multi-centre, randomised, controlled, open-label Phase Ib/II trial is designed to recruit around 40 metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma patients.
The trial will investigate the safety, tolerability, clinical response and various pharmacodynamic parameters of the combination therapy.
BioLineRx CEO Philip Serlin said: "BL-8040 has been shown to have robust mobilisation of immune cells, improve the infiltration of T cells into solid tumours, and affect the immunosuppressive tumour micro-environment.
“We are therefore hopeful that combining atezolizumab with BL-8040 can lead to a significant advancement in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, and of other solid tumours that are difficult to treat.”
Part of Roche's cancer immunotherapy development platform Morpheus, the new trial will involve administration of BL-8040 injections as monotherapy for initial five days, followed by BL-8040 and atezolizumab combination from day eight for approximately two years.
In September last year, BioLineRx and Genentech formed a cancer immunotherapy collaboration to investigate BL-8040 and atezolizumab combination in multiple Phase Ib/II trials for various types of cancer.
Image: Histopathogic image of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Photo: courtesy of KGH.