MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and Juno Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on re-engaging the body’s immune system to revolutionise the treatment of cancer, announced today that they have entered into a new collaboration.
The collaboration will be to conduct combination clinical trials in immuno-oncology with one of Juno’s investigational CD19-directed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell candidates and MedImmune’s investigational programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) immune checkpoint inhibitor, MEDI4736. Under the initial development plan, both companies will explore the safety, tolerability and preliminary efficacy of the combination therapy as a potential treatment for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
“We are pleased to enter into this clinical trial collaboration with Juno Therapeutics as our initial venture into the promising emerging field of CAR T cell therapies,” said Dr Ed Bradley, Senior Vice President and Head of the Oncology Innovative Medicines unit, MedImmune. “The combination of Juno’s CAR T cell candidate with MEDI4736 adds to our broad program of immuno-oncology combination trials, addressing multiple immune pathways and working with industry-leading partners to explore the significant potential of immunotherapies in transforming treatments for cancer.”
Under the terms of the non-exclusive collaboration, MedImmune and Juno will jointly co-fund the initial Phase Ib study, which is expected to begin later in 2015. The companies will also explore the combination of MEDI4736 with a next-generation, Juno-developed fully human CD19-directed CAR T cell candidate.
“We believe combination strategies such as this will help us better understand the full potential of our engineered T cell platform in both hematological and solid tumor settings,” said Mark W. Frohlich, MD, Executive Vice President, Research & Development at Juno Therapeutics. “We look forward to working with MedImmune, a leader in immuno-oncology and checkpoint inhibition, in understanding the potential clinical benefit of combining these two potent therapeutic classes.”