Update (12/09/2017): The FDA has cleared Transgene to start Phase II trials with TG4010 in combination with BMS’ Opdivo (nivolumab) as a first-line treatment for advanced, non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer.


Originally published on 25/05/2017

Transgene and Bristol-Myers Squibb have signed a new deal to develop a combo of a vaccine and a checkpoint inhibitor as a first-line lung cancer therapy.

Transgene is still waiting to launch its first therapy to the market after almost 40 years since its inception. The unconditional financial support of the Institut Mérieux and a recent partnership with Merck and Pfizer have been helping the company advance towards the market. Now, the French biotech has announced a new deal with US giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) to develop a first-line treatment against non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The new Phase II trial will evaluate Transgene’s TG4010, a vaccine expressing the MUC1 antigen, commonly overexpressed in NSCLC, and interleukin-2 (IL-2), a cytokine that stimulates the immune system, in combination with BMS’s PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo and standard chemotherapy. Transgene will sponsor the trial, while BMS will just provide Opdivo for the study, and first results are expected in 2018.

Transgene lung cancer first line BMS

The team had already been working together in the development of this combination therapy, but their previous trials, including a recently started Phase II study, were only intended for second-line treatments. Developing a first-line treatment will let Transgene unlock a larger market for its cancer vaccine.

Accordingly, the announcement has made the stock go up by 6% in the first 2 hours. Not a huge jump, but definitely a good sign. Last year, the French biotech’s stock went up by 50% after the start of its first Phase III trial, with the oncolytic virus immunotherapy Pexa-Vec in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). After a long journey, Transgene seems to be on track to finally reach the market in the coming years.


Images from Adao, Alex Hliv /Shutterstock

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