Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Linnaeus Therapeutics, Inc. (Linnaeus), a privately held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel small molecule oncology therapeutics, today announced that it has entered into a clinical collaboration agreement with Merck to evaluate the combination of its lead investigational product candidate LNS8801, and Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in patients with selected advanced solid tumors.
LNS8801 is a first-in-class, orally bioavailable small molecule that is a highly specific and potent agonist of the G-protein estrogen receptor (GPER). GPER is widely expressed on cancers. Agonizing GPER both stops cancers from proliferating and makes them more visible to the immune system.
Under the terms of the agreement, Linnaeus will conduct a Phase 2 study in patients who had previously responded to anti-PD-1 therapy and have since progressed.
"We are pleased to collaborate with Merck, the established leader in cancer immunotherapy, as we advance LNS8801 into Phase 2 clinical trials," said Patrick Mooney, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Linnaeus. "Based on what we have seen in animal models and in our Phase 1, dose-escalation study of LNS8801 in patients with advanced cancers, we are optimistic that the combination of LNS8801 and KEYTRUDA could provide meaningful benefit to this patient population."
KEYTRUDA is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA.