Merrimack initiates Phase I study of MM-141

12th December 2012 (Last Updated December 12th, 2012 18:30)

Biopharmaceutical company Merrimack Pharmaceuticals has commenced a Phase I study of MM-141 in patients with advanced solid tumours.

Biopharmaceutical company Merrimack Pharmaceuticals has commenced a Phase I study of MM-141 in patients with advanced solid tumours.

Merrimack has enrolled the first patient at Georgia Cancer Specialists in Atlanta for the study evaluating MM-141, its sixth oncology candidate in clinical development.

The fully human tetravalent antibody is designed to aim signalling of the P13K/AKT/mTOR pathway driven through IGF-1R and ErbB3 (HER3).

PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling is believed to play a major role in promoting tumour cell survival, and is frequently activated in cancers due to stress induced by chemotherapies or targeted anti-cancer medicines.

"PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling is believed to play a major role in promoting tumour cell survival, and is frequently activated in cancers due to stress induced by chemotherapies or targeted anti-cancer medicines."

Merrimack co-founder and chief scientific officer Ulrik Nielsen said cancer therapies focused on P13K/AKT/mTOR have not been effective as they do not address the underlying redundancies and adaptations in signalling that drive cancer cell survival.

"Merrimack has engineered MM-141 to focus specifically on key pathways of IGF-1R and ErbB3 signalling to address this issue," Nielsen said.

The Phase I study is designed to assess MM-141's safety as a monotherapy and as a combination therapy along with everolimus and docetaxel, as well as indentifying a recommended Phase II dose.

The trial is expected to be carried out at four sites involving advanced solid tumour patients whose disease has progressed following standard therapy.

The company is tracking clinical indications where PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitor exhibited signs of clinical activity and where IGF-1R and ErbB3 signalling has been shown to play a role in existing or acquired resistance.