AVEO and AstraZeneca Link on Lung Cancer

14.12.2018 -

US biopharma AVEO Oncology is collaborating with Anglo-Swedish drug major AstraZeneca on a combined treatment for liver cancer.

The partners will evaluate the safety and efficacy of combining AVEO’s vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (VEGFR-TKI) Fotivda (tivozanib) with AstraZeneca’s immunotherapy Imfinzi (durvalumab).

“We are thrilled to collaborate with AstraZeneca to explore another tivozanib-immunotherapy combination and look forward to understanding the potential of combining tivozanib with durvalumab in liver cancer,” said Michael Bailey, AVEO’s president and CEO. “TKI-immunotherapy combinations have demonstrated important clinical potential across multiple tumor types, though toxicities associated with these combinations have limited their potential use. Our goal is to establish tivozanib as the TKI of choice for use with immunotherapies by demonstrating efficacy with reduced toxicity.”

AVEO will sponsor the study with both firms sharing the costs equally. The first phase of the study is expected to start in 2019.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based company said its strategy is to retain North American rights to its oncology portfolio while securing partners in development and commercialization outside of the region. AVEO has already licensed Fotivda for oncological indications in Europe and other territories outside North America. The drug is approved in the EU, Norway and Iceland for treating kidney cancer.

In separate news, AstraZeneca is set to receive a payment of $5 million from Circassia Pharmaceuticals, which is exercising an option to acquire full US commercial rights to AstraZeneca’s Tudorza, a therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Circassia already promotes the inhaled respiratory drug in the US along with fellow COPD therapy Duaklir under a profit share arrangement established by the two companies in April 2017.

“Exercising our option for the full US commercial rights to Tudorza represents a strategic opportunity for Circassia,” said Steve Harris, Circassia’s CEO. “We will have significantly more control of the product’s commercialization strategy, and with prescription levels continuing to stabilize, we now have a robust foundation from which to grow the product.” 

Circassia expects to complete the option exercise on Dec. 31.