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Teon Tx and MSD Partner in Oral IO Clinical Trial

Teon Tx and MSD will partner to study a combination of a new immune-modifier and existing anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor.

Clinical-stage biopharma company Teon Therapeutics have announced they will partner with MSD to trial their oral immune response modifier, TT-816. The first in-human phase I/II immunotherapy clinical trials will aim to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the drug against advanced solid tumours.

The trial will study the drug as a monotherapy, and a combinational approach with MSD’s anti-PD-1 drug, Keytruda (pembrolizumab).

Phase I will evaluate safety, pharmacokinetics, and tolerability as well as establish the dose regimen for phase II. Phase II will continue the safety study and establish the preliminary efficacy of the treatment for patients with cancer indications such as non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, and renal cell carcinoma.

“In addition to its great potential as a monotherapy, by blocking both the PD-1 and CB2 pathways, we believe that TT-816 in combination with Keytruda may have an additive benefit in ‘hot’ tumours and synergistic effect in ‘cold’ tumours that may result in improved outcomes for more patients,” said Serge Messerlian, Chief Executive Officer of Teon.

TT-816 is an oral CB2 receptor antagonist. CB2 is a G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) of the cannabinoid family. It is expressed in the immune system and is responsible for regulation of inflammation and immune response.

Higher levels of CB2 expression are correlated with more aggressive cancers and worse survival rates. Therefore, Teon’s drug aims to block the receptor in order to improve the body’s immune response against cancers.

Teon have reported that preclinical data shows TT-816’s ability to enhance the antitumour effect of T and NK cells, counteract T-cell exhaustion, and allow T-cells to infiltrate and attack solid tumours. The effects of current generation ICIs are also reported to “synergize” with their new therapy.

Anthony W. Tolcher, Principal Investigator, Founder, and CEO of NEXT Oncology said that, “New treatment options are desperately needed in oncology care as today, most patients see their cancer return on current immunotherapy treatment.”

He added that the combination immunotherapy clinical trial “could potentially offer a clinically meaningful new option that can overcome tumour resistance mechanisms in many patients with difficult-to-treat cancers.”

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