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Nectin Therapeutics, Merck Team Up on Immunotherapy Combo Trial in Solid Cancers

NEW YORK – Nectin Therapeutics and Merck are working together to evaluate an investigational anti-PVR antibody, NTX1088, with the PD-1 inhibitor Keytruda (pembrolizumab) as a treatment for certain advanced solid cancers in a Phase I trial.

Nectin on Tuesday said it will enroll patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors that express the poliovirus receptor (PVR) and treat them with its NTX1088 as a single agent or in combination with Merck's Keytruda. Nectin, which is headquartered in Jerusalem, Israel, and has its US base in Fort Lee, New Jersey, is primarily interested in assessing the safety and tolerability of these treatment strategies and homing in on a Phase II dose. In the trial's expansion phase, investigators will also perform exploratory analyses of pharmacodynamic and predictive biomarkers.

NTX1088 is designed to block PVR, in turn restoring the antitumor immune activity of DNAM1 (CD226) and increasing T and NK cell activity. According to Nectin, high PVR expression is associated with resistance to PD-1/L1 checkpoint inhibitors like Keytruda.

"Our preclinical studies have shown that PVR blockade by NTX1088, as a monotherapy and in combination with PD-1 inhibitors, can significantly enhance antitumor immunity," Nectin Chief Development Officer Keren Paz said in a statement. "We look forward to advancing the clinical trials for NTX1088 as we pursue the development of new treatment options for patients who do not respond to existing therapies."