Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR) have entered into a new clinical collaboration to test the combination of Opdivo (nivolumab) and NKTR-214 to treat five tumour types and seven other indications.
BMY's Opdivo is PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the checkpoint receptor PD-1, which is used by the cancer cells to take refuge from the immune system and block the tumour from being exposed to the immune system.
Nektar’s NKTR-214 is an investigational immuno-stimulatory therapy developed to expose the tumour micro-environment to specific cancer-fighting T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells and increase expression of PD-1 on these immune cells.
Under the collaboration, Phase I/II clinical trials will be conducted in order to determine the safety and tolerability of Opdivo and NKTR-214 compared to the current standard of care indicated for a range of ailments such as melanoma, kidney, colorectal, bladder and non-small-cell lung cancer.
Bristol-Myers Squibb head of oncology Fouad Namouni said: “We are excited to explore the potential benefits in multiple types of cancer of the combination of Opdivo with Nektar’s innovative cancer immunotherapy.
“We believe that a combination regimen that utilises two different and complementary mechanisms designed to harness the body’s own immune system to fight cancer has the potential to provide new treatment options for patients.”
Both companies will equally share costs of the combined trials, while Nektar will retain its global commercial rights to NKTR-214.
The collaborating companies are currently undertaking an initial dose-escalation trial of Opdivo and NKTR-214..