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AstraZeneca announced a partnership with Pharmacyclics and Janssen for combination trials of MEDI4736 (AstraZeneca) with Imbruvica (Pharmacyclics and Janssen) for the treatment of hematologic cancers.
AstraZeneca announced on Nov. 4, 2014 a collaborative study with Pharmacyclics and Janssen to test the efficacy of MEDI4736 combined with Imbruvica (ibrutinib) in the treatment of patients with hematologic cancers. Under the terms of the agreement, Pharmacyclics, a biopharmaceutical company that designs, develops, and commercializes novel therapies to improve quality of life, will conduct the trial.
Pharmacyclics’ pipeline includes FDA-approved Imbruvica, and investigational drugs Abexinostat and PCI-27483 for the treatment of various cancers. A Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor is in clinical trials for autoimmune disorders. Imbruvica was approved for mantle cell lymphoma in November 2013 and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in February 2014.
AstraZeneca’s MEDI4736 is an investigational anti-PD-LI immune checkpoint inhibitor. It blocks the signals that help tumors avoid detection by the immune system. Imbruvica is an oral therapy that inhibits the BTK protein and blocks signals that tell malignant B cells to multiply and spread uncontrollably. Autoimmune disorders and B-cell malignancies are thought to be driven by overactive signaling and activation of a protein on the B-cell surface, the B-cell antigen receptor, which when bound by specific proteins causes B-cells growth.
“We are committed to progressing our strong immuno-oncology pipeline as rapidly as possible. Our partnership with Pharmacyclics and Janssen supports our exploration of the potential of anti-PD-L1 in hematological cancers—an area of significant unmet need as many lymphoma patients still progress despite treatment. It is also further evidence of our belief that combination therapies have the potential to be one of the most effective ways of treating cancer,” said Briggs Morrison, executive vice-president, Global Medicines Development, and chief medical officer, AstraZeneca, in a press release.