BerGenBio announces the award of a NOK 24 million (USD 2.85m) grant from Innovasjon Norge to support the clinical development of BGB324 in combination with Merck & Co.’s KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in patients with advanced lung cancer.
BerGenBio will sponsor a Phase II study multi-centre study of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with previously treated unresectable adenocarcinoma of the lung.
“We are delighted to have received this grant award, the largest grant from the “Industrial Development” program ever made by Innovasjon Norge. BGB324 is a novel small molecule Axl inhibitor that, as a one-a-day pill, offers an exciting opportunity to treat multiple cancers through a potentially universal mechanism. Axl signalling is a central process that promotes cancer cells to become aggressive. By blocking Axl signalling, tumour cells revert to a stable state where we believe they can be targeted and destroyed by the immune system and re-sensitized to other cancer therapies. We believe therefore that BGB324 alone and in combination with immunotherapies, such as KEYTRUDA, has the potential to significantly improve the clinical outcomes in a broad range of cancers. We anticipate announcing the results of this combination Phase II study in 2018,” says Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio.
The grant from Innovasjon Norge is an Industrial Development Award (IFU). The IFU program is directed to Norwegian companies developing new products or services in collaboration with foreign companies. The NOK 24 million grant will contribute towards BerGenBio’s costs of running this specific Phase II clinical trial.