Merck-Pfizer Alliance Joins Syndax on Ovarian Cancer

07.01.2016 -

Germany’s Merck KGaA and Pfizer of the US are collaborating with US biopharmaceutical company Syndax to evaluate a combination of avelumab and entinostat to treat advanced ovarian cancer.

Avelumab, an investigational fully human anti-PD-L1 IgG1 monoclonal antibody, is currently under clinical investigation for a broad range of tumors by the Merck-Pfizer alliance. The potential treatment received Fast Track status by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) last October.

Entinostat is an investigational oral small molecule that targets immune regulatory cells in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer. Syndax will be responsible for conducting the phase Ib/II clinical trial.

Globally, ovarian cancer is the seventh most common cancer in women and outcomes are generally poor as most patients present with advanced disease.

Mace Rothenberg, senior vice president of clinical development and medical affairs and chief medical officer for Pfizer Oncology, said the collaboration adds a new dimension to its search for combination immuno-oncology regimens based on compelling preclinical rationale and the potential to generate better results than with either agent alone.

Syndax’s CEO Briggs Morrison added that continued interest to investigate entinostat reflects positively on the molecule’s potential mode of action and also reinforces the company’s strategy to explore the compound across a broad range of solid tumor indications.