Pharma Focus Asia

ISA Pharmaceuticals Strengthens Strategic Immuno-Oncology Collaboration With Regeneron

Thursday, June 18, 2020

ISA Pharmaceuticals B.V., a private clinical-stage immunotherapy company, announced plans to initiate a potentially pivotal clinical trial for the combination of ISA101b and Libtayo® (cemiplimab) in oropharyngeal cancer, a type of head-and-neck cancer, under its strategic immuno-oncology collaboration with Regeneron. In addition, Regeneron will increase its equity stake in ISA Pharmaceuticals.

The new oropharyngeal cancer trial is the third trial planned under the clinical collaboration between ISA Pharmaceuticals and Regeneron. ISA101b, an immunotherapy targeting human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16), is currently in a Phase 2 clinical trial for first- and second-line HPV16-positive head-and-neck cancer in combination with Libtayo, a PD-1 inhibitor that is being jointly developed by Regeneron and Sanofi. A second Phase 2 trial investigating the same combination in cervical cancer is also planned. More than 60 percent of head-and-neck cancers and approximately 55 percent of cervical cancers are HPV16 induced.

Under the revised agreement, the clinical collaboration offers a potential shortened path to first approval in the HPV16-positive oncology indications being studied in the next few years. The agreement also streamlines ISA Pharmaceuticals' access to license fees, milestone payments and royalties. Together with the recently secured 20 million Euro loan from the European Investment Bank, development of ISA101b is now fully funded through the data readout of ongoing and planned pivotal trials which will support regulatory filings.

"This agreement will accelerate the development and commercialization of our lead asset, ISA101b, to treat two important cancers with high unmet medical needs," commented Gerben Moolhuizen, Chief Executive Officer of ISA Pharmaceuticals. "We are extremely pleased to be working with Regeneron and for their continued support of both ISA pharmaceuticals and our clinical studies in both indications."

"Thanks to this updated clinical collaboration, we are able to rapidly diversify our research into a broader array of HPV16-induced cancers," said Israel Lowy, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Translational and Clinical Sciences, Oncology, at Regeneron. "ISA101b offers a validated mechanism of action, and we look forward to working with ISA Pharmaceuticals to determine the synergistic potential of combining this novel immunotherapy with Libtayo to better address these difficult-to-treat cancers."

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