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PDS Biotech completes enrollment of lead-in safety cohort in VERSATILE-002 phase II combination trial

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Published:10th Sep 2021
PDS Biotechnology Corporation announced that it has completed the enrollment of the lead-in safety cohort of its VERSATILE-002 Phase II study evaluating the efficacy and safety of the combination of PDS 0101, 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 II 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. Now 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 II trial (NCT04287868) being led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). That trial is evaluating the combination of PDS 0101 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.

“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 PDS 0101 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.”

Condition: Head & Neck Cancer
Type: drug

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