AstraZeneca bolts Incyte’s IDO1 immunomodulator to its lung cancer plans

AstraZeneca has enlisted the aid of Incyte to try to boost its ambitions in a category of lung cancer immunotherapy where it has a lead over competitors.

The two companies have agreed to pair Incyte’s IDO inhibitor epacadostat with AZ’s PD-L1 inhibitor Imfinzi in a phase 3 trial—due to get underway next year—as a second-line treatment for patients with locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that isn’t treatable with surgery and whose disease has not progressed following platinum-based chemoradiation therapy. The phase 3 trial, which will be co-funded by the two companies and carried out by AZ, is expected to start enrolling patients in the first half of 2018, say the partners.

IDO1 inhibitors are thought to reverse localized tumor-associated immune suppression and restore the ability of immune cells to combat malignant cells, working in a different way to current checkpoint inhibitors, which block the signals that help tumors avoid detection by the immune system. [Read more]