Juno Therapeutics and AstraZeneca are joining forces to test their respective cancer treatments, combining new therapies designed to use the body’s immune system to combat tumors.
Under the deal, the pair plans to jointly fund a Phase I study combining one of Juno’s CAR-T therapies and pair it with a promising antibody developed by MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s biologics-focused subsidiary. Slated to start this year, the trial will focus on patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Juno’s treatment is crafted by removing patients’ T cells, outfitting them with targeting technology called chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), and then reinfusing them to zero-in in on tumors. AstraZeneca’s MEDI4736, on the other hand, is an antibody designed to block an immune checkpoint called PD-L1, which stops the body’s natural defenses from detecting cancerous growths. Each treatment has demonstrated strong results in monotherapy studies, and the two companies believe administering them in tandem could create a powerful weapon against cancer.
“The combination of Juno’s CAR-T cell candidate with MEDI4736 adds to our broad program of immuno-oncology combination trials, addressing multiple immune pathways and working with industry-leading partners to explore the significant potential of immunotherapies in transforming treatments for cancer,” MedImmune oncology chief Ed Bradley said in a statement.