Date: 2017-05-30

Type of information: Clinical research agreement

Compound: binimetinib in combination with Opdivo® (nivolumab) and Opdivo® + Yervoy® (ipilimumab)

Company: Array BioPharma (USA - CO) BMS (USA - NY)

Therapeutic area: Cancer - Oncology

Type agreement: clinical research

Action mechanism:

  • kinase inhibitor/RAF kinase inhibitor/MEK (MAP kinase) inhibitor/monoclonal antibody/immune checkpoint inhibitor.  
  • The RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway regulates several key cellular activities including proliferation, differentiation, migration, survival and angiogenesis. Inappropriate activation of proteins in this pathway has been shown to occur in many cancers, such as non-small cell lung cancer, melanoma, colorectal, ovarian and thyroid cancers. Binimetinib is a small molecule MEK inhibitor and encorafenib is a small molecule BRAF inhibitor, both of which target key enzymes in this pathway.
  • Nivolumab is a fully-human PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor that binds to the checkpoint receptor PD-1 (programmed death-1) expressed on activated T-cells. PD-1, a receptor expressed on the surface of lymphocytes, plays a role in a regulatory pathway that suppresses activated lymphocytes in the body. Available evidence suggests that cancer cells exploit this pathway to escape from immune responses. Opdivo® is thought to provide benefit by blocking PD-1-mediated negative regulation of lymphocytes (i.e., the interaction of PD-1 with its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2), thereby enhancing the ability of the immune system to recognize cancer cells as foreign and eliminate them. This monoclonal antibody has been generated under a research collaboration entered into in May 2005 between Ono and Medarex. When Medarex was acquired by BMS in 2009, it also granted BMS its rights to develop and commercialize the anti-human PD-1 monoclonal antibody in North America.
  • Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4) is a negative regulator of T-cell activation. Ipilimumab binds to CTLA-4 and blocks the interaction of CTLA-4 with its ligands, CD80/CD86. Blockade of CTLA-4 has been shown to augment T-cell activation and proliferation. The mechanism of action of ipilimumab’s effect in patients with melanoma is indirect, possibly through T-cell mediated anti-tumor immune responses.

Disease: metastatic colorectal cancer in patients with microsatellite stable tumors

Details: • On May 30, 2017, Array BioPharma  and BMS announced the companies have entered into a clinical research collaboration to investigate the safety, tolerability and efficacy of Array's investigational MEK inhibitor, binimetinib in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb's Opdivo® (nivolumab) and Opdivo® + Yervoy® (ipilimumab) regimen as a potential treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer in patients with microsatellite stable tumors. The Phase 1/2 study is expected to establish recommended dose regimens for further study and explore the preliminary anti-tumor activity of combining binimetinib with Opdivo®, as well as binimetinib in combination with the Opdivo® + Yervoy® regimen. Results from this first study, which is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2017, will be used to determine optimal approaches to further clinical development of these combinations. Under the terms of the agreement, Array and BMS will jointly support the study with Array acting as the sponsor.

Financial terms:

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