GSK, Merck move combo therapy into Phase 1
LONDON—GlaxoSmithKline and Merck & Co., also known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, recently began a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate GSK’s investigational immunotherapy GSK3174998, a humanized IgG1 anti-OX40 monoclonal antibody, both as a monotherapy and in combination with Merck’s Keytruda. The trial will consist of patients with locally advanced, recurrent or metastatic solid tumors that have progressed after standard treatment. OX40 is a tumor necrosis factor expressed on the surface of activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and OX40 agonism is found to stimulate immune effector and memory functions while also mitigating the immunosuppressive regulatory T cells sometimes found in tumors. For its part, Keytruda helps boost the immune system’s ability to detect and destroy tumor cells by blocking the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2.