Norwegian Biotech Goes for Combination Therapies in Melanoma

BerGenBio has started a new Phase I/II trial evaluating the addition of its Axl inhibitor to standard of care treatments in advanced melanoma.

In March, Norwegian BerGenBio beat a biotech record on the Norwegian stock exchange, raising a massive €43.55M. Now, the company is standing by its promises and just dosed the first patient in a new Phase I/II trial to test its lead Axl inhibitor BGB324 in combination with standard of care treatments in patients with non-resectable or metastatic melanoma.

The trial will evaluate the combination of BGB324 and checkpoint inhibitor Keytruda, based on a recent clinical collaboration with Merck. Moreover, the company will also test the combination of its Axl inhibitor with the MAP kinase inhibitors dabrafenib and trametinib from Novartis.

Axl has been shown to be a key driver of resistance in melanoma to both anti-PD-1 therapy and MAP kinase inhibitors. This is why we believe combinations that include the selective Axl inhibitor BGB324 could hold great promise for a wide range of patients with non-resectable or metastatic melanoma,” commented Dr. Oddbjørn Straume, lead investigator of the trial.

While Astellas Pharma is also working on a dual Flt3/Axl tyrosine kinase inhibitor, BerGenBio’s candidate is the only specific Axl inhibitor in clinical development. If it proves to be effective in fighting resistance to standard therapies, the biotech has good chances to enter a massive market.


Image via shutterstock.com /  Crevis

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