Biotech developer Immutep (ASX: IMM) unveiled new data in a public webcast regarding its ongoing melanoma study. The Australian biotech company said that it has achieved long-lasting and durable responses in a subset of patients with an overall response rate of 61% from a group of 18 patients.
Immutep said that its latest patient outcomes included tumour shrinkage in 50% of patients including 2 patients with “complete disappearance of all target lesions.”
The webcast was streamed live to a worldwide audience with the entirety of the presentation also available via Immutep’s website.
“The new data is very encouraging, further supporting our hypothesis that the combination of efti and pembrolizumab may be a hopeful solution for cancer patients,” said Mr Marc Voigt, CEO of Immutep.
“We look forward to starting our new efti-pembrolizumab combination program in three different cancer indications as well as the results from the additional TACTI-mel patient cohort in the second half of this year,” Mr Voigt said.
The ongoing TACTI-mel trial which stands for “two active immunotherapies in melanoma” phase I clinical trial is a multi-centre, open-label trial with escalating doses, beginning with 1mg and moving up to 6mg and finally 30mg per dose per patient.
The initial study consists of three cohorts of six patients. In February 2018, Immutep expanded the TACTI-mel study by an additional cohort of 6 patients at 30 mg of efti in combination with pembrolizumab starting at cycle 1 and with a treatment duration of 12 months.
Immutep looks to establish lead product
Immutep’s lead immunotherapy product candidate is called “eftilagimod alpha”, or efti.
The trial is testing efti in combination with a therapy developed by pharmaceutical giant Merck called anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in a new clinical trial that evaluates the combination within several different solid tumours.
The novel immunotherapy approach developed by Immutep intends to treat cancer and autoimmune diseases in unresectable or metastatic melanoma patients that have not responded to conventional treatments.
According to Immutep, its efti drug is a first-in-class antigen presenting cell activator which stimulates cancer-fighting T cells, while KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that works by increasing the ability of the body’s immune system to help detect and fight tumour cells.
Immutep’s findings were also presented by Dr Frédéric Triebel, Immutep’s Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Officer at the 3rd annual Advances in Immuno-Oncology Congress on 25 May held in London, UK.
The event brought together over 300 delegates from world-renowned academic institutions, hospitals, global pharmaceutical organisations and leading biotechnology companies, including Immutep.
The event hosted over 50 presentations and case studies focusing on the key developments in immuno-oncology with specific reference to the discovery of therapeutic areas, pre-clinical and clinical studies.