Imperial Innovations' portfolio company, PsiOxus Therapeutics, a business specialsing in immuno-oncology, has initiated a study to assess the safety and efficacy of a therapy combining Merck's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and PsiOxus's lead product, enadenotucirev, to treat patients with carcinomas. Enadenotucirev is an oncolytic virus that has been shown in phase I clinical trials to reach and selectively infect cancer cells when administered by intravenous infusion.
The SPICE study
The Study of Pembrolizumab In Combination with Enadenotucirev (SPICE) study aims to assess the ability of enadenotucirev to reverse resistance to checkpoint inhibitors for certain tumour types, including metastatic colorectal cancer. The study will involve several leading clinical centres in the United States and is planned to run until 2017. Initially, the SPICE study will explore the safety of this combination therapy.
Dr John Beadle, CEO of PsiOxus, commented: “Although checkpoint inhibitors represent a tremendous breakthrough in immunotherapy, the majority of tumours are currently resistant to these agents. More than 90 percent of colorectal tumours, for example, are currently regarded as checkpoint resistant. We aim to show that a combination of enadenotucirev with pembrolizumab can reverse that resistance and significantly open up the market for checkpoint inhibitors and enadenotucirev, for the very important benefit of patients.”