Pharma Focus Asia

Torque Announces Clinical Trial Collaboration with Merck

Friday, February 22, 2019

Torque, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing first-in-class Deep Primed™ T Cell Therapeutics to direct immune power deep within the tumor microenvironment, announced today that it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement with Merck (known as MSD outside of the U.S. and Canada). The collaboration will evaluate Torque's Deep IL-15 Primed T Cells (TRQ-1501) both as a single agent and in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck's anti-PD-1 therapy, in a Phase 1/2 study in multiple solid tumor indications.

"We are very excited about this clinical collaboration with Merck to evaluate the combination of KEYTRUDA with our Deep IL-15 Primed T cells," said Bart Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Torque. "Torque's new class of cellular immunotherapy is designed to harness the full biology of natural T cells for treating multiple solid tumors, and we believe the combination with anti-PD-1 therapy will further enhance the function of these cells by protecting them against immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. This combination has the potential to improve treatment outcomes for patients with solid tumors that are relapsed or refractory to currently available treatments and broaden the applications of cellular immunotherapy."  

The Phase 1/2 trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability, immune biomarkers, and overall response rates achieved with TRQ-1501 in combination with KEYTRUDA in two groups of patients:

Patients with melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, bladder cancer, renal cell carcinoma, and head and neck cancer who are relapsed or refractory to checkpoint inhibitor therapy (anti PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor treatment)
Patients with advanced or metastatic ovarian cancer or sarcoma who are relapsed or refractory to standard-of-care treatments

Torque will conduct the trial at multiple clinical sites in the U.S. and expects to commence the combination arm of the study with KEYTRUDA later this year.

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