London, UK, 04 June 2013: MRC Technology, a technology transfer organisation, announced today the presentation of positive data for lambrolizumab, initially advanced by MRC Technology’s antibody engineering group, at the American Society for Clinical Oncology meeting in Chicago. The study is also published online in the New England Journal of Medicine*.
The humanized antibody is now being developed by MSD, known as Merck in the US and Canada. Lambrolizumab is an investigational antibody therapy targeting Programmed Death receptor (PD-1) that is currently being evaluated for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma, and other tumor types. MSD recently announced lambrolizumab has been designated as a Breakthrough Therapy for the treatment of patients with advanced melanoma by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The designation of an investigational drug as a Breakthrough Therapy is intended to expedite the development and review of a candidate that is planned for use, alone or in combination, to treat a serious or life-threatening disease or condition when preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints.
MRC Technology has humanized over 55 antibodies to date, including two marketed products, Tysabri (natalizumab) and Actemra (tocilizumab). A further six are in clinical trials (including vedolizumab) and two more in preclinical studies.
Dave Tapolczay, CEO of MRC Technology, said: “We are delighted that our collaboration with MSD in humanizing lambrolizumab has resulted in the candidate achieving this significant status. We are hopeful that it will prove to be another significant milestone in cancer therapy and the treatment of highly invasive tumors such as advanced melanoma.”
Deepak Khanna, Managing Director of MSD UK, adds “This highlights how collaborations like this with key research institutes in the UK have the potential to really make a difference for patients across the world. We are very proud to join up with MRC Technology to work towards this future vision”