Merck and IMV Form Oncology Collaboration

- September 11th, 2018

For some, Merck’s cancer drug Keytruda may seem like one of the most developed drugs, with multiple US Food and Drug Administration approvals. However, it’s also proving to be a popular choice for partnerships.

For some, Merck’s (NYSE:MRK) cancer drug Keytruda may seem like one of the most developed drugs with multiple US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approvals. However, it’s also proving to be a popular choice for partnerships.

On Tuesday (September 11), IMV (NASDAQ:IMV, TSX:IMV) announced a collaboration to develop its lead candidate DPX-Survivac with Keytruda for five solid tumor indications. This marks the third Phase 2 trial for both drugs.

This new trial will evaluate the performance of three drugs including the two mentioned above and another immunotherapy in advanced recurrent cancers among patients. IMV plans to begin the trial enrollment in Q4 2018.

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“The clinical data from our recent ASCO meeting presentation demonstrated for the first time the unique potential of DPX-Survivac to generate solid tumor regressions in ovarian cancer,” Frederic Ors, CEO of IMV, said in the press release.

In the US and Canada, the investigators expect to enlist over 200 patients for the trials who have bladder, liver, ovarian or non-small cell lung cancers. These types of cancers have proven to have positive results for the microsatellite instability high biomarker.

The two other ongoing trials are researching ovarian cancer and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, both which are using the same regimen of medications.

IMV’s lead candidate, DPX-Survivac, is part of a new immunotherapy which targets a body’s natural cancer killing cells, T cells in vivo. The drug is formed from survivin-based peptide antigens with IMV’s DPX drug delivery platform.

According to the National Cancer Institute, survivin may allow long lasting cell response against survivin-expressing cancers, which IMV believes over 15 cancer indications are over-expressing.

IMV is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing immunotherapies for multiple conditions, including oncology. As mentioned, the company is using its drug delivery platform to discover these new drugs. Other partnerships the company has for its clinical trials are with Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY), and multiple healthcare centers.

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Big pharma Merck is working to fight cancer with Keytruda and other key-approved and developing drugs in oncology and other indications.

With Tuesday’s announcement, Merck now has over 45 public announced partners for other combination studies with Keytruda. Additional companies involved in these developing programs include: Eli Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Neon Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NTGN), Incyte (NASDAQ:INCY), Advaxis (NASDAQ:ADXS), among others.

Investor takeaway

Over the trading period Tuesday, IMV’s NASDAQ share price decreased 0.48 percent to US$5.42; on the TSX, however, it increased 3.17 percent to C$7.15.

Based on the most recent analyst rating, TipRanks suggests the IMV’s TSX share price may increase to a high of C$12.25 in the next six months.

Meanwhile, Merck’s share price decreased 0.62 percent to US$69.11 over the same trading period.

Investors can continue following IMV’s news on its website about this upcoming trial which is expected to begin enrollment in Q4 2018.

Don’t forget to follow @INN_LifeScience for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Gabrielle Lakusta, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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