Pfizer and Kyowa Hakko Kirin (KHK) are teaming up to explore how well the combination of Pfizer’s investigational monoclonal antibody (mAb) PF-05082566 with KHK's anti-CCR4 antibody mogamulizumab works in a Phase Ib study in patients with solid tumors. Per the agreement, Pfizer will conduct the study, which will establish a dose regimen and assess the combination's safety and efficacy, and both firms will co-fund it. The companies are planning to begin the study in 2015.

PF-05082566 is a fully humanized mAb that Pfizer says can stimulate signaling through 4-1BB (CD-137), a protein involved in regulation of immune cell activation, proliferation, and survival. Mogamulizumab, KHK says, can suppress some of the immune cells that shield the tumor from the immune system.

Both companies believe the immuno-oncology combination of mogamulizumab with the 4-1BB agonist holds great promise for treating patients with cancer. “We believe that combination therapy in immuno-oncology holds great promise to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and provides an exciting opportunity for Pfizer to maximize the potential of our emerging immuno-oncology portfolio,” Mace Rothenberg, M.D., svp of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs and CMO for Pfizer Oncology, said in a statement.

Pfizer is also currently in a cancer combination therapy collaboration with Merck & Co.; the firms recently announced plans for a Phase Ib study combining Pfizer’s Xalkori® (crizotinib) with Merck’s investigational drug pembrolizumab (MK-3475) in patients with anaplastic lymphoma kinase-positive advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer. The study is set to start next year.

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