Pfizer and Merck KGaA's new chance to Verastem’s VS-6063


Pfizer and Merck KGaA has given a new chance to Verastem’s VS-6063 to prove its vitality in cancer treatment.

Pfizer and Merck KGaA announced that their joint venture’s investigational drug candidate- Avelumab (MSB0010718C)– a human monoclonal PD-L1 antibody of isotype IgG1 will be combined with Verastem’s VS-6063– an investigational focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor for the Phase 1/1b clinical trial on the advanced ovarian cancer which will be launched in the second half of 2016. Financial terms and conditions regarding the program has not been disclosed .

Avelumab has done well in its previous phase trial. With the approval of U.S. FDA, last year it has moved to Phase III study JAVELIN Ovarian 200 for treatment of platinum-resistant/refractory ovarian cancer.

On the other hand, VS-6063, once looked promising for targeting malignant pleural mesothelioma stem cells flunked. It showed very low level of efficacy in its phase II trial which was later stopped.

VS-6063 (aka Defactinib)

Therefore, the phase trial of this combination therapy coming later this year has caught all the attention, whose results can definitely increase the resources of information on combination therapy development for cancer treatment. Chris Boshoff, Vice president and Head of Early Development,Translational and Immuno-Oncology at Pfizer Oncology stated Through this collaboration, we hope to advance our understanding of how FAK inhibition may complement our development program for avelumab, with the ultimate goal of potentially achieving better outcomes for women with ovarian cancer”.

Verastem Inc is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company which focusses on small molecule inhibitors of cancer stem cell pathway, their programs emphasizes on FAK and P13K/mTOR signalling pathways. Its FAK inhibitor VS-6063 suffered a great set back in its phase II trial last year but now the combination therapy of the VS-6063 and Avelumab looks substantially promising in immuno-oncology and if they complement each other well, better outcomes may be anticipated for treatment of women with ovarian cancer.

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