Movers and SHAKERS
PDS Biotech Completes Enrollment of Lead-In Safety Cohort in VERSATILE-002 Phase 2 Combination Trial of PDS0101-KEYTRUDA® in Recurrent or Metastatic Head and Neck Cancer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J., Sept. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- PDS Biotechnology Corporation (Nasdaq: PDSB), a clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing novel cancer therapies based on the Company’s proprietary Versamune® T-cell activating technology, today announced that it has completed the enrollment of the lead-in safety cohort of its VERSATILE-002 Phase 2 study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the combination of PDS0101, a clinical stage immunotherapy to treat cancers caused by infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), and KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), a checkpoint inhibitor (CPI). The combination is being studied for the treatment of advanced human papillomavirus (HPV16)-associated head and neck cancer that has returned or spread. The trial is being conducted in collaboration with Merck & Co.
The VERSATILE-002 Phase 2 trial is a multi-center, open label, single arm, non-randomized trial that will enroll approximately 100 patients across approximately 25 sites in the U.S. Today the study achieved an important milestone by completing the enrollment of the lead-in safety cohort. Consistent with the study design, further recruitment for the study will commence after a formal analysis by the drug monitoring committee.
VERSATILE-002 is being studied in two groups of HPV16-positive head and neck cancer patients whose cancer has returned or spread. The first group have not been previously treated with a checkpoint inhibitor (CPI naïve). The second group of patients have failed multiple treatments including CPI therapy (CPI refractory).
The advancement of the VERSATILE-002 trial follows the previously disclosed presentation at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2021 Annual Meeting of interim data in a separate Phase 2 trial (NCT04287868) being led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). That trial is evaluating the combination of PDS0101 with two investigational immunotherapies in patients with advanced HPV-related cancers who have failed prior treatment. Objective responses measured according to RECIST 1.1 (tumor reduction of 30% or more) were reported in 83% (5/6) of HPV16-positive patients who had failed chemotherapy and radiation but were CPI naive. In CPI refractory patients, tumor reduction was reported in 58% (7/12) and objective responses in 42%. Two patients, one in each group were reported to have a complete response (no evidence of disease) at the time of reporting. Current standard of care is reported to result in objective responses of approximately 20% and 10% in CPI naïve and refractory patients respectively. More information on this study can be found on PDS Biotech’s website.
“The early data from these initial studies suggest that Versamune®-based immunotherapies administered in combinations that include a checkpoint inhibitor, may have the potential to enhance the immune system’s ability to induce a more powerful and targeted anti-tumor response,” commented Dr. Lauren V. Wood, Chief Medical Officer of PDS Biotech. “There is an enormous unmet medical need for more effective treatment of advanced HPV-related cancers and specifically, head and neck cancer. We believe the combination of PDS0101 and KEYTRUDA® has the potential to significantly improve clinical outcomes for these patients who have limited treatment options. We look forward to sharing data from this trial as they become available.”
Dr. Jared Weiss, Section Chief of Thoracic and Head and Neck Oncology at the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, is serving as the Lead Principal Investigator of VERSATILE-002. Patients interested in enrolling in this clinical study should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at http://pdsbiotech.com/VERSATILE-002 to learn more.
About PDS Biotechnology
PDS Biotech is a clinical-stage immunotherapy company developing a growing pipeline of cancer immunotherapies based on the Company’s proprietary Versamune® T-cell activating technology platform. Our Versamune®-based products have demonstrated the potential to overcome the limitations of current immunotherapy by inducing in vivo, large quantities of high-quality, highly potent polyfunctional tumor specific CD4+ helper and CD8+ killer T-cells. PDS Biotech has developed multiple therapies, based on combinations of Versamune® and disease-specific antigens, designed to train the immune system to better recognize diseased cells and effectively attack and destroy them. The company’s pipeline products address various cancers including breast, colon, lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. To learn more, please visit www.pdsbiotech.com or follow us on Twitter at @PDSBiotech.
PDS Biotech’s lead candidate, PDS0101, combines the utility of the Versamune® platform with targeted antigens in HPV-expressing cancers. In partnership with Merck & Co., PDS Biotech is evaluating a combination of PDS0101 and KEYTRUDA® in a Phase 2 study in first-line treatment of recurrent or metastatic head and neck cancer. PDS Biotech is also conducting two additional Phase 2 studies in advanced HPV-associated cancers and locally advanced cervical cancer with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, respectively.
Forward Looking Statements
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