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BerGenBio Starts Treating NSCLC Patients in Phase Ib/IIa Trial of Bemcentinib

NEW YORK – BerGenBio on Thursday said that non-small cell lung cancer patients have started receiving its AXL inhibitor bemcentinib as a first-line treatment in a Phase Ib/IIa trial.

The company will evaluate the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of bemcentinib with standard therapies in untreated, advanced or metastatic non-squamous NSCLC patients with no other targetable mutations. In the Phase Ib portion, investigators will study bemcentinib with Merck's Keytruda (pembrolizumab) and doublet chemotherapy as a first-line regimen in patients regardless of STK11 status. In the Phase IIa expansion portion, they will test the same combination in patients with STK11 mutations.

An estimated 20 percent of patients with non-squamous NSCLC harbor mutations in STK11, and almost all of those patients have high levels of AXL activation, BerGenBio said.

The Bergen, Norway-based company was prompted to launch this trial in the first-line setting after seeing promising results in a similar Phase II trial in which NSCLC patients received the drug as second-line therapy.