Phase II trials in metastatic melanoma and other cancers are in the planning.

Altor BioScience won a $3 million SBIR grant from the NCI to help progress its anticancer agent ALT-0801. This tumor-targeted immunotherapeutic is being developed to help improve the efficacy and safety of interleukin-2 therapy.

The funds will initially be used to support a clinical trial evaluating a treatment regimen combining ALT-801 with cisplatin in patients with metastic melanoma. The company is also planning additional trials assessing ALT-801 in renal cell, head and neck, and prostate cancers. Altor BioScience says that a recently completed Phase I/IIa trial showed some patients with these cancers benefited from treatment with the drug.

The company has been working with clinical research institutes to develop protocol for clinical trials using ALT-801 in an adoptive cell therapy setting for treatment of cancer. Currently, lymphocyte cells are obtained from a donor, activated in vitro with IL-2, and then transferred into a patient. In some cases the donor cells react against the patient’s tumors, according to Altor.

The firm believes that by replacing IL-2 with ALT-801, the fusion protein will be more capable of targeting donor lymphocyte cells against based on recognition activity of ALT-801’s TCR domain.

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