AMES, Iowa, April 04, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NewLink Genetics Corporation (NASDAQ:NLNK), a biopharmaceutical company focused on bringing novel immuno-oncology therapies to patients with cancer, today reported interim results from NLG2103, a Phase 2 study evaluating its IDO pathway inhibitor, indoximod, in combination with checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma.
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These data report on a cohort of 60 evaluable patients (including patients with ocular melanoma) who received the combination of indoximod plus pembrolizumab which demonstrated a 52% (31/60) ORR and a 73% (44/60) DCR. Patients with non-ocular melanoma
achieved a 59% (30/51) ORR and an 80% (41/51) DCR. The combination was generally well tolerated with low rates of Grade 3 or higher adverse events. These data will be presented today in the Clinical Trials Plenary Session at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
"These data are impressive and demonstrate the potential of this combination to improve response rates of the currently available therapy for patients with advanced melanoma. Importantly, our combination therapy was well tolerated without an appreciable increase in toxicity," said Dr. Yousef Zakharia, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation at the University
of Iowa and Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, a leading investigator on the trial.
Nicholas Vahanian, M.D., President and Chief Medical Officer said, "These new data further underscore the potential for indoximod in combination with other agents. The ORR and DCR are highly encouraging and further validate indoximod as a promising IDO pathway inhibitor."
Charles J. Link, Jr., M.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, "Currently approved immunotherapies are transforming cancer treatment. We believe targeting the IDO pathway is key to enhancing the efficacy of existing and future treatment regimens. NewLink Genetics has two distinct IDO pathway inhibitors in development that represent separate and independent
opportunities. We expect further clinical validation of the IDO pathway as an immuno-oncology target throughout 2017."
NLG2103 is a Phase 2 study evaluating the addition of indoximod to the standard of care checkpoint inhibitors approved for patients with advanced melanoma (pembrolizumab, ipilimumab, or nivolumab). The interim data represent a cohort of 60 evaluable patients who received indoximod plus pembrolizumab. Evaluable patients were defined as those having at least one on-treatment imaging study. The primary outcome measure of the trial is objective
response rate (ORR) and secondary outcome measures include disease control rate (DCR) and evaluation of safety and tolerability.
- The ORR, by site reported RECIST criteria, for all patients was 52% (31/60) with a 73% (44/60) DCR.
- Patients with non-ocular melanoma achieved a 59% (30/51) ORR and a DCR of 80% (41/51).
- The majority of responses reported have been durable.
- The occurrence of Grade 3 or greater adverse events was low with no apparent increase for the combination over what would be expected with pembrolizumab alone.
Indoximod is an investigational, orally available small molecule targeting the IDO Pathway. The IDO Pathway is one of the key immuno-oncology targets involved in regulating the tumor microenvironment and immune escape.
NewLink Genetics is currently evaluating indoximod in multiple combination studies for patients with various types of cancer. These include melanoma, acute myeloid leukemia, pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer.
About NewLink Genetics Corporation
NewLink Genetics is a biopharmaceutical company at the forefront of discovering, developing and commercializing novel immuno-oncology product candidates to improve the lives of patients with cancer. NewLink Genetics' product candidates are designed to harness multiple components of the immune system to combat cancer. For more information, please visit http://www.newlinkgenetics.com.
KEYTRUDA® is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. (Source)
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