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Targovax announces collaboration to evaluate ONCOS-102 in combination with KEYTRUDA® in mesothelioma

  • Targovax to collaborate in a randomized phase II trial investigating the combination  ONCOS-102, Keytruda and standard of care chemotherapy in first line malignant pleural mesothelioma

Oslo, Norway, 23 June 2020 – Targovax ASA (OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing oncolytic viruses to target hard-to-treat solid tumors, today announces that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) with the intent to initiate a randomized phase II trial to evaluate the combination of ONCOS-102, Keytruda (pembrolizumab), MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy, and standard of care (SoC) chemotherapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Recently, Targovax reported encouraging results from the ongoing phase I/II trial evaluating intra-tumoral ONCOS-102 treatment in addition to SoC (pemetrexed and cisplatin) in first and second line unresectable mesothelioma, see press release here. These data indicate a potential clinical benefit of ONCOS-102, particularly in first line patients. Importantly, clinical responses were associated with robust immune activation, T-cell infiltration and up-regulation of PD-L1, and, as such, suggest that patients may benefit from the addition of anti-PD-1 checkpoint blockade.

Following these efficacy and mechanistic findings, Targovax and MSD have agreed to initiate a collaboration trial evaluating the combination of ONCOS-102, KEYTRUDA and SoC in first line mesothelioma patients. The trial will be a randomized phase II of up to 100 patients comparing this investigational triple combination against Keytruda and SoC. There is strong interest to participate in the trial among key opinion leaders and investigators, and multiple centers in both the USA and EU will be participating. The aim is to start enrolling patients into the trial within twelve months.

Øystein Soug, CEO of Targovax, said: “We believe the clinical immune activation data we have seen so far provide a strong scientific rationale for adding anti-PD1 checkpoint blockade to the ONCOS-102 and chemotherapy combination in mesothelioma. Therefore, we are delighted that MSD has agreed to support us in exploring this hypothesis by providing KEYTRUDA supply for our next trial. KEYTRUDA is the market-leading checkpoint inhibitor and thus our preferred choice of partner. We are hopeful that the combination of ONCOS-102, pembrolizumab and chemotherapy will lead to improved outcomes for patients with this challenging disease who currently have few treatment alternatives”.

For further information, please contact:
Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624

Media and IR enquires:
Andreas Tinglum – Corporate Communications (Norway)
Phone: +47 9300 1773

About Targovax

Activating the patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Targovax (OSE:TRVX) is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing oncolytic viruses to target hard-to-treat solid tumors. Targovax’s lead product candidate, ONCOS-102, is a genetically modified oncolytic adenovirus, which has been engineered to selectively infect cancer cells and activate the immune system to fight the cancer.

ONCOS-102 is currently being tested in mesothelioma, melanoma and peritoneal malignancies and has already shown promising clinical results both as monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy, and a checkpoint inhibitor.

Source: Targovax