Genentech and Biothera to Assess Combination Cancer Therapy

Genentech to conduct trial to assess two of its antibodies with Biothera’s Imprime PPG for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer.

Genentech and Biothera Pharmaceuticals, a privately held clinical stage immuno-oncology company, have entered into an agreement to conduct a Phase 1b/2 clinical trial for a combination therapy intended to treat metastatic colorectal cancer. The combination treatment includes Biothera’s Imprime PGG and two of Genetech’s antibodies - Texentriq® (atezolizumab), an anti-PD-L1 antibody, and Avastin® (bevacizumab), an anti-VEGF antibody. Genentech will run the trial, which in the initial phase will include approximately 40 patients at multiple centers. 

Imprime PGG is a yeast-derived biologic that acts as a Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern (PAMP) that binds to pattern recognition receptors on innate immune cells (monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils) and provides the critical “non-self” danger signals that trigger a coordinated immune response to infectious pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses or fungi. Both innate and adaptive responses are triggered, enhancing efficacy compared to other cancer immunotherapies, which focus on adaptive immunity only, according to Biothera.

Specifically, Imprime PGG has been shown in preclinical studies to enhance the efficacy of anti-cancer immune responses in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitor, tumor-targeting and anti-angiogenic antibodies 

This particular study with Genetech will determine the potential of Imprime PGG, atezolizumab and bevacizumab to increase overall patient responses. The two companies will also test the three-drug combination in MORPHEUS, Roche's Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Development Platform.

“We are pleased to be working with one of the leaders in cancer immunotherapy,” said Barry Labinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Biothera Pharmaceuticals.  “Through this collaboration, we will expand our clinical research with Imprime PGG and immune checkpoint inhibitors to include anti-PD-L1 cancer immunotherapy in a new cancer indication.  We believe that this triple combination regimen has the potential to demonstrate additive or synergistic activity and enhance clinical outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer.”


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