Immutep updates on efti-Keytruda combination

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Immutep (ASX:IMM), a biotechnology company developing novel immunotherapy treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, has announced more data from its ongoing TACTI-mel phase 1 clinical study of its lead product candidate, eftilagimod alpha ('efti' or 'IMP321').

The data was presented at the World Immunotherapy Congress 2019 in San Diego by the company's chief scientific officer Dr Frédéric Triebel.

The TACTI-mel study is evaluating the combination of efti with MSD's anti-PD-1 therapy KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in 24 patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

It is a multi-centre, open-label clinical trial that involves four cohorts of six patients, each cohort testing different dosages of efti, including 1 mg, 6 mg and 30 mg, in combination with KEYTRUDA.

The overall response rate (ORR) in 18 subjects who received six months of the combination therapy at cycle 5 of KEYTRUDA treatment was 33 per cent with a disease control rate (responders plus stable cancer) of 66 per cent. This compared to a previous MSD study in which KEYTRUDA as monotherapy achieved an ORR of 33 and 34 per cent.

The company also announced the first patient has been dosed with the combination of efti and KEYTRUDA for the phase 2 study, TACTI-002.

The study will evaluate the combination of in up to 109 patients with second line head and neck squamous cell carcinoma or non-small cell lung cancer in first and second line.

The study will take place in up to 13 study centres across the US, Europe and Australia