Clinical-stage immunotherapy firm Immune Design has partnered with the subsidiaries of Merck to assess the safety and efficacy of its oncology investigative agents, G100 and LV305, with Merck's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and melanoma.
The Phase I trials will evaluate the safety and efficacy of both investigative agents separately combined with an anti-PD-1 therapy Keytruda for NHL and melanoma.
Keytruda is a humanised monoclonal antibody, which blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2.
Immune Design president and CEO Dr Carlos Paya said: "There is great potential to expand the potential of immunotherapy through combination approaches that will stimulate and enhance the immune system in order to mount the strongest response against cancer."
The first clinical study will assess intratumoral administration of G100 with intravenous administration of Keytruda in patients with follicular NHL receiving local radiation.
The trial will also assess the response in both injected and non-injected lesions, in addition to an evaluation of the safety of the combination.
Second clinical study in melanoma will assess safety and response to the combination of LV305 and Keytruda in patients who have not yet responded to treatment with Keytruda alone after three months of treatment.
Immune Design has designed G100 and LV305 investigational agents to work in vivo and activate the immune system through the induction or expansion of anti-tumour CD8 T cells.
G100 is a potent toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) agonist being developed to generate a robust anti-tumour immune response when administered directly to the tumour micro-environment.
In contrast, LV305 is being developed to activate the immune system through the in vivo generation of cytotoxic T cells (CTLs), initially against a specific tumour-associated antigen, NY-ESO-1.
Image: Micrograph of mantle cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Photo: courtesy of Nephron.