Eisai and Halozyme Therapeutics have signed clinical collaboration agreement, under which the firms will assess Eisai’s agent eribulin mesylate in combination with Halozyme’s investigational drug PEGPH20 to treat metastatic breast cancer.

The Phase Ib / II study will assess eribulin mesylate (Halaven) in combination with PEGPH20 (PEGylated recombinant human hyaluronidase) in first-line HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer.

Halozyme Therapeutics president and CEO Dr Helen Torley said: "This agreement marks the first clinical collaboration agreement for Halozyme and extends the study of PEGPH20 to a substantially wider population of patients with a partner that is a clear leader in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer."

Both firms will jointly share the costs of the study, which will evaluate whether the combination can improve overall response rate (ORR) compared to eribulin alone as a therapy in women with advanced breast cancer.

"This agreement marks the first clinical collaboration agreement for Halozyme."

PEGPH20 is an investigational drug administered intravenously, which targets the degradation of hyaluronan, a glycosaminoglycan or chain of natural sugars in the body.

Eribulin is not indicated for first-line therapy for patients with HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer and structurally, it is a modified and synthetically produced analogue of halichondrin B, a natural product isolated from the marine sponge Halichondria okadai.

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The study will determine whether or not the combination therapy of eribulin and PEGPH20 can improve the ORR rate in patients with high levels of hyaluronan.

Eisai has developed Eribulin mesylate to treat patients with metastatic breast cancer who have received at least two chemotherapeutic regimens for the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.