AstraZeneca announced that MedImmune, its global biologics research and development arm, has entered into a clinical trial collaboration with Advaxis Inc., a US-based biotechnology company developing cancer immunotherapies. The Phase 1/2 immunotherapy study will evaluate the safety and efficacy of MedImmune’s investigational anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, MEDI4736, in combination with Advaxis’ lead cancer immunotherapy vaccine, ADXS-HPV, as a treatment for patients with advanced, recurrent or refractory human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cervical cancer and HPV-associated head and neck cancer.
Both MEDI4736 and ADXS-HPV are cancer immunotherapies, a new class of treatments that use the body’s own immune system to help fight cancer. MEDI4736 is designed to counter the tumor’s immune-evading tactics by blocking a signal that helps tumors avoid detection, while ADXS-HPV enhances the ability of immune cells to combat the tumor. Preclinical evidence suggests that the combination of ADXS-HPV with a checkpoint inhibitor, such as MEDI4736, can enhance overall anti-tumor response.
“Our collaboration with Advaxis is further evidence of MedImmune’s commitment to explore novel combination approaches as we progress our immuno-oncology portfolio,” said Dr. Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune. “We believe there could be an important clinical benefit from the combination of MEDI4736 with Advaxis’s antigen-specific cancer vaccine.”