Advaxis and Merck in prostate cancer treatment trial

Advaxis and Merck have joined forces to trial a potential immunotherapy treatment for prostate cancer.

The two companies have agreed to collaborate on a clinical trial that will explore the effect of combining their individual drugs on treating prostate cancer.

Biotechnology company Advaxis will combine its Lm-LLO cancer immunotherapy with Merck’s investigational anti-PD1 antibody (pembrolizumab) in a collaborative clinical trial on patients with previously treated metastatic, castration resistant prostate cancer.

Advaxis will also explore the safety and efficacy of its immunotherapy in isolation during the trial, which is due to begin in 2015 and will inform on the potential future development of the treatments.

Daniel J. O’Connor, president and chief executive officer for Advaxis, said the company was “excited to be working with Merck” in exploring the potential of the treatment combination for targeting cancer.

“We believe the combination of Advaxis Lm-LLO cancer immunotherapies and checkpoint inhibitors holds significant promise for the treatment of prostate and other cancers,” he said.

Dr Eric Rubin, vice president oncology at Merck Research Laboratories, said: “Collaborations such as this are an integral part of Merck’s strategy to evaluate the potential of pembrolizumab in multiple combinations for a broad range of cancers.”