Portage Biotech has dosed the first patient in a Phase Ia clinical trial of PORT-6, an adenosine 2A receptor (A2AR) antagonist for treating solid tumours.

The study is a part of the ADPORT-601 trial which also includes a Phase Ib trial of PORT-7, an adenosine 2B receptor (A2BR) antagonist.

Phase Ia will assess the safety of both PORT-6 and PORT-7 as monotherapies in patients with solid tumours including renal, non-small cell lung and prostate cancer.

It will also evaluate A2AR and A2BR antagonists along with immune checkpoint inhibitors to identify a recommended Phase II dose.

The other part of the trial, Phase Ib will study PORT-6 and PORT-7 monotherapies in an enriched population and in randomised trials against standard of care.

Both antagonists will integrate proprietary biomarkers to select patients with high A2A and A2B expression thereby helping in the customisation of treatment for the benefit of the patient population.

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Portage Biotech CEO and chairman Dr Ian Walters said: “This trial is a critical next step in our comprehensive exploration of how targeting the adenosine pathway could improve outcomes in multiple cancer types.

“Adenosine pathway blockade has shown safety and monotherapy activity in numerous solid tumours, and PORT-6 represents a next-generation approach which we believe is, based on our pre-clinical studies, more potent, durable and selective than other agents.

“We are continuing to advance this programme along with the ongoing development of our iNKT engager, PORT-2, giving us multiple potential product candidates for patients in need.”

Portage is also developing invariant natural killer T cell (iNKT) small molecule engagers, as part of its lead programmes.