Nektar Therapeutics and Takeda Pharmaceutical are working together to evaluate a new therapy combining a lead investigational compound from each company — NKTR-214 and TAK-659N — in people with blood cancers and solid tumors.
The first trial will test the combination in patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and is expected to begin later this year.
NKTR-214 is an immunotherapy that aims to stimulate the immune system into generating cancer-killing immune cells. The therapy works by targeting specific CD122 receptors at the surface of these immune cells, prompting their rapid expansion and targeting them towards the tumor.
TAK-659 is an oral dual inhibitor of two proteins, the spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) and its target protein, the cytokine receptor called FLT-3, previously shown to promote, for example, acute myelogenous leukemia. The therapy is being tested in clinical studies, either alone or in combination with other cancer-therapies in both solid and blood-originated cancers.
The new trial will investigate the benefits of combining NKTR-214 with oral daily doses of TAK-659, delivered every three-weeks, in non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients.
“We look forward to collaborating with Takeda to explore a range of combination therapy approaches with NKTR-214 and TAK-659 in liquid and solid tumor settings,” Jonathan Zalevsky, chief scientific officer and senior vice president of research at Nektar, said in a press release.
“Importantly, this clinical collaboration will allow us to understand how we can increase the clinical benefit of immunotherapies for patients when we leverage multiple I-O [immuno-oncology] modalities and target the immune cycle in complementary and novel ways,” he added.
Added Phil Rowlands, head of the Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit at Takeda: “NKTR-214 is unique in that it can stimulate tumor-killing T-cells in the tumor micro-environment itself. By combining with TAK-659, we hope to target different stages of the cancer immunity cycle in a combination regimen. This collaboration is aimed at achieving our goal of allowing more patients with different types of cancer to benefit from immunotherapies.”
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