Debiopharm International SA Announces Clinical Collaboration with the Merck-Pfizer Alliance in Cancer Immunotherapy

Debiopharm International SA Announces Clinical Collaboration with the Merck-Pfizer Alliance in Cancer Immunotherapy

This joint effort will initially focus on a Phase I/Ib trial in patients with Lung Cancer to assess safety and preliminary efficacy of Debio 1143 in combination with avelumab

Lausanne, Switzerland – October 20, 2016 – Debiopharm International (Debiopharm – www.debiopharm.com) today announced that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Merck and Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) to evaluate Debio 1143, an oral, small molecule inhibitor of IAPs (Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins), in combination with avelumab, an investigational fully human anti-PD-L1 IgG1 monoclonal antibody, in patients with advanced or metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). Debio 1143 is currently in Phase II development for Head & Neck and Ovarian Cancer. Avelumab is under clinical investigation across a broad range of tumor types by the Merck-Pfizer Alliance. Under the terms of the agreement, Debiopharm will be responsible for conducting the Phase I/Ib clinical trial in NSCLC.

“We are delighted to initiate this collaboration in immuno-oncology with the Merck-Pfizer Alliance. It is a great opportunity to explore in the clinic the immunomodulatory properties of Debio 1143 observed in preclinical studies,” said Dr Chris Freitag, Vice President, Clinical Research & Development, Debiopharm International SA. “We are hopeful that the immunosensitizing effect of our compound in combination with avelumab may translate into a potentially better treatment outcome for patients suffering from this major debilitating disease.”

Globally, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among both men and women, responsible for more deaths than colon, breast and prostate cancer combined.1 NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 80-85% of all lung cancers.2 The 5-year survival rate for people diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer that has spread (metastasized) to other areas of the body is 4%.3

“Inhibition of the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway has shown promising activity in patients with advanced NSCLC,” said Alise Reicin, M.D., Head of Global Clinical Development in the biopharma business of Merck. “We hope that our exploration of avelumab as a combination therapy with Debio 1143 will generate results that could potentially one day make a real difference to patients fighting this deadly cancer.”

“Investigating the potential of combination therapy is an important strategic focus for the Merck-Pfizer Alliance,” said Chris Boshoff, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Immuno-Oncology, Early Development, and Translational Oncology at Pfizer. “This collaboration with Debiopharm provides a significant opportunity to explore the potential synergistic effects of these two agents in combination.”

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