Immutep provides positive update on immunotherapy trial

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The Sydney-based biotechnology Immutep (ASX:IMM) company has released new positive data from a trial involving its immunotherapy in combination with MSD's KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab).

Immutep is developing eftilagimod alpha ('efti'), a soluble LAG-3 protein, in combination with KEYTRUDA. The trial is testing the combination in over 100 lung cancer patients.

According to Immutep's chief scientific and medical officer Dr Frederic Triebel, â€œThe results we are seeing from our TACTI-002 trial are highly encouraging, with 47% of first-line non-small cell lung cancer patients responding.

"These results are remarkable given that usually only 20% of patients respond to pembrolizumab monotherapy, if not preselected for high PD-L1 expression. Interestingly, patient responses are being seen in all three PD-L1 expression level groups, meaning the combination treatment seems to work even in patients not expected to respond to pembrolizumab monotherapy.

"The initial overall response rate of 33% of second-line head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients is also very exciting, albeit from a smaller patient group. It compares well to an expected pembrolizumab monotherapy response rate of 15-18%, especially taking into account that three patients could not yet be assessed.”

CEO Marc Voigt added, “We are very excited by the results from TACTI-002 as pembrolizumab monotherapy is approved only for PD-L1 subgroups in first line NSCLC. Seeing substantial response rates also in low PD-L1 expression groups from the combination therapy is very encouraging, particularly in light of the good safety profile to date for efti.”