Incyte's Epacadostat Combo Trials With Merck’s Keytruda Reveals Promising Cancer Treatment Results

By N. Gutierrez | Jun 06, 2017 04:20 AM EDT
Incyte’s epacadostat combined with Merck's Keytruda offers positive results in cancer treatment for melanoma patients.

Incyte’s epacadostat was described to be an oral inhibitor of the IDO1 enzyme that stops cancer cells. However, Incyte decided to collaborate with other companies to fuse their cancer drugs since their trials show that the epacadostat failed to kill cancer alone.

According to Zacks, Incyte decided to select its IDO1 enzyme inhibitor to be combined with drugs from companies like Merck, Bristol-Myers Company, AstraZeneca/MedImmune and Roche/Genentech. The trials with the four companies were said to be still ongoing process. Yet, Incyte still has complete commercialization rights to the epacadostat amid their IDO inhibitors failing to kill cancer alone.

The most updated clinical trial was mentioned to be Incyte’s epacadostat combined with Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy Keytruda, known as pembrolizumab. The findings were said to be effective in patients “with advanced NSCLC, irrespective of PD-L1 status.” The drug combination trial results were presented last Saturday at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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“The results show a clinical benefit for patients with advanced lung cancer and establish a strong basis for progressing this novel, investigational immunotherapy combination into pivotal studies for the first-line treatment of these patients,” said ECHO-202 study investigator and assistant professor of medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, Tara Gangadhar, M.D. explained as The Pharma Letter reported.

Incyte’s epacadostat combined with Merck’s Keytruda was identified to be the most effective in the ongoing trials. The fusion of the two was said to be conducted on melanoma and results will be published in 2018. Incyte’s chief executive officer, Herve Hoppenot concluded that companies working together is important as well in fighting off cancer.

Incyte Corp and Merck also announced that they will further aim for clinical trial collaboration expansion to include patients with NSCLC, renal, bladder, and head & neck cancers. The Phase III trials for the aforementioned types of the tumor was said to be conducted in 2017. On the other hand, Incyte’s collaboration with Bristol-Myers will involve Bristol-Myers’ immuno-oncology therapy Opdivo in phase III studies along with Incyte’s epacadostat.

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