Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) has entered a clinical collaboration with biopharmaceutical firm Apexigen to assess the combination of Opdivo (nivolumab) with APX005M for the treatment of advanced solid tumours.
Apexigen’s APX005M is an investigational, humanised, monoclonal antibody that induces immune co-stimulatory receptor CD40, which is reported to regulate the stimulation of innate and adaptive immune responses to cancer.
Opdivo is BMS' PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor with regulatory approval in 57 countries such as the US, Japan and the European Union.
The safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of the combination therapy will be evaluated in patients with second-line metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), who have failed chemotherapy, as well as in metastatic melanoma patients who have experienced I-O therapy failure.
Bristol-Myers Squibb oncology development head Fouad Namouni said: “Targeting the tumour microenvironment through activation of antigen-presenting cells is a novel approach that we are excited to add to our Immuno-Oncology strategy as we continue to advance research for cancers with limited treatment options.
“Our agreement with Apexigen builds on our continued focus to bring forward potential novel combination treatment options for patients with cancer.”
The preclinical results of APX005M indicated that the antibody imitates the endogenous immune activation by triggering CD40.
Opdivo is developed to overcome the immune suppression associated with PD-1 pathway.
It is expected that the combination therapy will activate antigen presenting cells (APC) present in the tumour microenvironment, resulting in a potent immune response against the cancer.