After a string of promising late-stage results, Amgen's cancer-fighting viral vaccine failed to extend patients' lives at a statistically significant rate, missing a secondary endpoint and marking the first blemish on the biotech's top cancer prospect.
A new round of late-stage data on Amgen's cancer-fighting viral vaccine talimogene laherparepvec, better known as T-Vec, found that about two-thirds of the tumors injected with T-Vec shrank 50% or more. And the same effect was seen in about a third of all uninjected tumors in the skin and lymph nodes, providing an indication that the treatment is triggering the desired immune system effect.
According to new research published online Monday at the Journal of Clinical Oncology, 63% of the patients taking the immunotherapy were alive after one year and 43% were still alive after two years on the drug. And the researchers say that the durable response was also reflected in patients who had stopped taking the drug.
Combination cancer therapies are all the rage these days in the oncology field. Now two of the giant players in the cancer R&D arena have decided to match their top prospects to see if they can make a bigger impact on melanoma.
In the latest trove of promising Phase III data for Amgen's T-Vec, the cancer-fighting virus increased overall survival by four months compared to standard growth factor therapy, driving optimism that the drug can win approval and make some noise in the melanoma market.
Merck highlighted evidence of a rising response rate to its closely watched immunotherapy MK-3475, spotlighting an 81% overall survival rate for advanced melanoma patients after 12 months of therapy with 41% of all patients demonstrating tumor shrinkage--rising to an impressive 51% for one group at the high end of the dose range.
GlaxoSmithKline experienced a major R&D setback today, reporting that its targeted cancer immunotherapy MAGE-A3 failed its first co-primary endpoint in a Phase III study for melanoma, failing to beat out a placebo in spurring disease-free survival.
San Diego-based Vical recruited 390 patients to test Allovectin (velimogene aliplasmid), a cancer immunotherapy that's been in the clinic for years. The biotech had been bullish about its Phase II data. The company didn't disclose any data this morning, saying that it would release results at a later scientific conference.
With unleashing the immune system on cancers all the rage in pharma research, Genentech has sealed a deal with the U.K. drug developer Immunocore to tap its T cell receptor technology for attacking tumors.
Merck's team arrived at ASCO with some solid positive data backing their melanoma program for lambrolizumab (MK-3475). The pharma giant is readying a pair of late-stage clinical trials for melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer as they set their sights on completing a speedy set of applications for regulators.