Juno Therapeutics ($JUNO) and AstraZeneca ($AZN) are joining forces to test their respective cancer treatments in tandem, combining newfangled therapies that promise to use the immune system to combat tumors.
Under the deal, the pair will jointly fund a Phase I study combining one of Juno’s so-called CAR-T therapies and pair it with promising antibody developed by MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s biologics-focused subsidiary. The trial, slated to start this year, will focus on patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Juno’s treatment is crafted by removing patients’ T cells, outfitting them with targeting technology called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), and then reinfusing them to hone in on tumors. AstraZeneca’s MEDI4736, on the other hand, is an antibody designed to block an immune checkpoint called PD-L1, which stops the body’s natural defenses from detecting cancerous growths. Each treatment has demonstrated stellar promise in monotherapy studies, and the two companies believe administering them in tandem could create a powerful weapon against cancer. […]