Merus discovered zenocutuzumab (Zeno), a novel treatment specifically designed for patients with advanced unresectable or metastatic NRG1 fusion (NRG1+) pancreatic cancer.
Zeno is classified as an antibody-dependant cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC)-enhanced Biclonics®. It utilises the Merus Dock & Block® mechanism to target and inhibit the neuregulin/HER3 tumour-signalling pathway, which is implicated in the growth and progression of solid tumours with NRG1 fusions.
This type of cancer occurs when the NRG1 gene fuses with other genes, leading to the abnormal activation of signalling pathways in tumour cells.
The unique mechanism of Zeno involves binding to HER2, a receptor protein often overexpressed in cancer cells, and blocking the interaction between HER3 and its ligand NRG1 or NRG1-fusion proteins.
By inhibiting the formation of HER2/HER3 heterodimers, Zeno disrupts oncogenic signalling pathways. This inhibition leads to the suppression of tumour cell proliferation and impedes tumour cell survival.
The potential efficacy of Zeno against NRG1+ cancer has been demonstrated in preclinical studies. These studies have shown that Zeno effectively inhibits the interaction between HER3 and NRG1, resulting in the suppression of tumour growth and survival.
Zenocutuzumab (Zeno) has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of patients with advanced unresectable or metastatic NRG1 fusion (NRG1+) pancreatic cancer.