Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) and Compugen have agreed to evaluate the safety and tolerability of the combination of Opdivo (nivolumab) and COM701, their respective drugs, for the treatment of patients with advanced solid tumors.
While Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor, COM701 is an investigational anti-PVRIG antibody.
Apart from the clinical trial collaboration, Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to make an equity investment of $12m in Compugen, which is a genomics-based drug and diagnostic discovery company, headquartered in Israel.
Compugen president and CEO Anat Cohen-Dayag said: “We are excited to have Bristol-Myers Squibb, the global leader in immuno-oncology, as a collaborator and strategic investor in Compugen.
“This collaboration gives Compugen access to Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Opdivo, enabling the evaluation of COM701 plus a PD-1 inhibitor and potentially accelerating the timeline for clinical testing of COM701 as part of other novel combinations.”
The combination of COM701 and Opdivo will be evaluated in an ongoing two-part phase 1 trial to be sponsored by Compugen. The combination will be studied in four tumor types that includes non-small cell lung, ovarian, breast and endometrial cancer.
The clinical trial collaboration will also aim at addressing potential future combinations of COM701 and Opdivo, including trials sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb to probe combined inhibition of checkpoint mechanisms like PVRIG and TIGIT.
Bristol-Myers Squibb said that the clinical combination of various immune checkpoint inhibition is designed to evaluate the biological rationale of the PVRIG pathway and the synergistic activity shown in preclinical models.
Bristol-Myers Squibb oncology development head Fouad Namouni said: “Our goal is to evaluate whether the innovative combination of COM701 with Opdivo is safe and active in various tumor types.
“We look forward to building a strong collaboration with Compugen and addressing significant unmet needs.”
Recently, in August, Opdivo secured approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an immuno-oncology treatment option for patients with metastatic small cell lung cancer (SCLC) whose cancer has progressed following platinum-based chemotherapy and at least one other line of therapy.
Opdivo has been designed to target the cellular pathway PD-1/PD-L1 proteins found on the body’s immune cells and multiple cancer cells. By blocking the pathway, Opdivo helps the immune system in fighting cancer cells by restoring an anti-tumor immune response.