Amgen, Roche joined for study on cancer immunotherapy with talimogene laherparepvec & atezolizumab
Amgen join with Roche on a phase 1b study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of talimogene laherparepvec, Amgen's investigational oncolytic immunotherapy, in combination with Roche's investigational anti-PDL1 therapy, atezolizumab (also known as MPDL3280A), in patients with triple-negative breast cancer and colorectal cancer with liver metastases.
Talimogene laherparepvec is an investigational oncolytic immunotherapy designed to selectively replicate in tumors (but not normal tissue) and to initiate an immune response to target cancer cells. Talimogene laherparepvec was designed to work in two important and complementary ways. First, it is injected directly into tumours where it replicates inside the tumour's cells causing the cell to rupture and die in a process called lysis. Then, the rupture of the cancer cells can release tumour-derived antigens, along with GM-CSF, that can stimulate a system-wide immune response where white blood cells are able to seek out and target cancer that has spread throughout the body. Atezolizumab is an investigational monoclonal antibody designed to interfere with the PD-L1 protein. Atezolizumab is designed to target PD-L1 expressed on tumour cells and tumour-infiltrating immune cells, preventing it from binding to PD-1 and B7.1 on the surface of T cells. By inhibiting PD-L1, atezolizumab may enable the activation of T cells, restoring their ability to effectively detect and attack tumour cells.
The aim for combining these two investigational agents is to activate an anti-tumor immune response with talimogene laherparepvec and to block inhibitory T cell checkpoints with atezolizumab, to potentially increase the anti-tumor activity relative to each agent alone.
Amgen has initiated a comprehensive clinical development program for talimogene laherparepvec in metastatic melanoma, which includes combination studies with checkpoint inhibitors in patients with late-stage disease and monotherapy prior to surgery (neoadjuvant) in patients with resectable disease. Additionally, based on its clinical profile, talimogene laherparepvec has the potential to be studied in a variety of solid tumour types.