LONDON, July 22 AstraZeneca is casting
its net wider in the hot cancer immunotherapy field through a
clinical trial collaboration with U.S. biotech firm Advaxis
that will test drugs from both companies in
Britain-based AstraZeneca - the target of an unsuccessful
$118 billion takeover bid by Pfizer earlier this year -
is banking on widespread use of its immunotherapy drugs, which
boost the body's immune system, to fight a range of tumours.
Under the deal with Advaxis, its so-called anti-PD-L1 drug
MEDI4736 will be evaluated in a Phase I/II clinical study
together with the U.S. company's cancer vaccine ADXS-HPV in
patients with human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cervical
cancer and HPV-associated head and neck cancer.
Since the two medicines work in different ways, the hope is
that combining them will produce a stronger response.
AstraZeneca is already running other combination trials
using its own in-house products. Its MedImmune biotech unit also
has a similar external collaboration with Incyte to
study MEDI4736 with Incyte's drug INCB24360.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely)