AstraZeneca today announced the start of the Phase III program for MEDI4736, an immunotherapy in development for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other cancers. The goal of the PACIFIC trial, the first study in the Phase III NSCLC program, is to evaluate progression free survival and overall survival of MEDI4736 compared to placebo in patients with locally advanced, unresectable NSCLC (Stage III) following completion of treatment with chemoradiotherapy and no evidence of tumour progression. The PACIFIC trial is the first pivotal study of an immunotherapy in this patient population.
MEDI4736 is a human monoclonal antibody directed against programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1). Signals from PD-L1 help tumours avoid detection by the immune system. MEDI4736 blocks these signals, countering the tumour’s immune-evading tactics. MEDI4736 is being developed to empower the patient’s immune system and attack the cancer.
Briggs Morrison, Executive Vice President, Global Medicines Development and Chief Medical Officer at AstraZeneca said: “This is a significant milestone for AstraZeneca and MedImmune. MEDI4736 is an important molecule in our immuno-oncology portfolio and its entry into Phase III clinical trials is further evidence of our commitment to invest in distinctive science in our core therapy areas, and to rapidly progress our immuno-oncology pipeline. Lung cancer is still the leading cancer killer; there is a clear need for more treatment options to provide patients with a better chance of beating the disease. We believe MEDI4736, and immunotherapies more broadly, hold the potential to shape the future of cancer treatment."
A total of 702 patients are anticipated to be randomised into the PACIFIC Phase III study across more than 100 sites globally. The Phase III programme follows the evaluation of clinical activity and the safety profile of MEDI4736 in a Phase I programme. Updated information from early stage studies (monotherapy and early combination data) will be presented at this year’s American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.
According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), lung cancer was responsible for 1.59 million deaths (nearly 20% of all deaths from cancer) in 2012. NSCLC is the most common form of lung cancer and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines estimate that around a third of patients are at Stage III of the disease when diagnosed. While the majority of NSCLC patients initially benefit from chemoradiotherapy, their cancer eventually progresses and they die of metastatic disease.