Shares of Alderley Park-based Redx Pharma rose as much as 8% after it announced it entered into a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with MSD (Merck).
The agreement is for the supply of Keytruda (pembrolizumab), MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy, to be used in the combination arm of Redx’s ongoing PORCUPINE2 Phase 2 clinical study evaluating RXC004 as a potential treatment for patients with biliary cancer.
Redx Pharma’s biggest shareholder is San Francisco investment firm Redmile Group LLC with a 73% stake.
“RXC004, Redx’s lead oncology asset, is being developed as a targeted treatment for Wnt-ligand dependent tumours,” said Redx.
“It is a potent, selective, oral, small-molecule inhibitor of the Porcupine enzyme, a key activator of Wnt-ligands in the Wnt signalling pathway.
“RXC004 is being investigated both as a monotherapy treatment and in combination, where RXC004 will be combined with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs).”
Professor Juan Valle, RXC004 PORCUPINE2 Chief Investigator, said: “Currently, advanced biliary cancer has only a 2% 5-year survival rate, with a critical unmet need for additional treatment options.
“It is important to study agents such as the Porcupine inhibitor RXC004, which may sensitise some types of tumours to ICI therapies, in an effort to find effective treatment combinations that may improve outcomes for these patients, who have a particularly poor prognosis.”
Dr Jane Robertson, Chief Medical Officer, Redx Pharma commented: “We are delighted to enter into a collaboration agreement with MSD for our ongoing PORCUPINE2 study to evaluate RXC004 in combination with their anti-PD-1 therapy, pembrolizumab.
“Biliary cancer is a devastating disease that is heavily reliant on Wnt signalling, so we are keen to explore the potential of combining RXC004 with ICIs.
“Our hypothesis, based on the preclinical data we have generated, is that when combined, there may be a greater chance of the patients showing an immune response, which we hope will lead to improved outcomes.”