Biothera Pharmaceuticals Enters Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trial Collaboration Agreement

EAGAN, Minn., Nov. 28, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a clinical trial collaboration agreement with Genentech, Inc., a member of the Roche Group, to assess the safety and efficacy of Biothera’s Imprime PGG in combination with Genentech’s atezolizumab (TECENTRIQ®), an anti-PD-L1 antibody, and bevacizumab (AVASTIN®), an anti-VEGF antibody, to treat patients with metastatic colorectal cancer.  Genentech will conduct the multicenter, which will enroll approximately 40 patients in the initial phase of the study.

“We are pleased to be working with one of the leaders in cancer immunotherapy,” said Barry Labinger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Biothera Pharmaceuticals.  “Through this collaboration, we will expand our clinical research with Imprime PGG and immune checkpoint inhibitors to include anti-PD-L1 cancer immunotherapy in a new cancer indication.  We believe that this triple combination regimen has the potential to demonstrate additive or synergistic activity and enhance clinical outcomes for patients with colorectal cancer.”

Under the collaboration agreement, researchers will evaluate the potential of Imprime PGG, atezolizumab and bevacizumab to increase overall patient responses.  Imprime PGG, an investigational PAMP (Pathogen Associated Molecular Pattern) drug, acts as an immunological “ignition switch,” triggering a cascade of activating events throughout the innate immune system that culminate in T cell activation and cancer cell killing.  In preclinical studies, Imprime PGG enhanced the efficacy of both anti-PD-L1 and anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor antibodies. 

The collaboration between Biothera Pharmaceuticals and Genentech includes testing the experimental combination in MORPHEUS, Roche's Novel Cancer Immunotherapy Development Platform. MORPHEUS is a Phase 1b/2 adaptive platform to develop combinations of cancer immunotherapies more rapidly and efficiently.

About Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Biothera Pharmaceuticals is a privately held clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing Imprime PGG, a Phase 2 cancer immunotherapy that has been shown in preclinical studies to enhance the efficacy of anti-cancer immune responses in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitor, tumor-targeting and anti-angiogenic antibodies.  Biothera Pharmaceuticals has clinical research agreements with Merck to evaluate Imprime PGG and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 antibody, in Phase 2 studies in advanced melanoma, metastatic triple negative breast cancer, and head and neck squamous cell cancer.  This therapeutic combination also is the focus of a Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium Phase 1b/2 trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

TECENTRIQ® (atezolizumab) and AVASTIN® (bevacizumab) are registered trademarks of Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

David Walsh
Biothera Pharmaceuticals, Inc.