AMES, Iowa, June 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- NewLink Genetics Corporation (NASDAQ: NLNK), an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company specializing in immunotherapy, today announced results from a Phase 2 clinical study with tergenpumatucel-L. The study evaluated the safety and activity of tergenpumatucel-L in 28 previously treated patients with metastatic or recurrent non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). All patients in the study received tergenpumatucel-L as a single agent, which resulted in long term stable disease (>/= 16 weeks) in 8 of the 28 patients, including one patient who survived 50 months. Median overall survival of 11.3 months with tergenpumatucel-L as a single agent was also encouraging in this patient population. Sixteen of the patients whose disease progressed following tergenpumatucel-L therapy received salvage chemotherapy. The partial response rate was 31 percent (5/16) and an additional 25 percent (4/16) achieved stable disease, suggesting that tergenpumatucel-L enhanced the response rate of the salvage chemotherapy. The safety and tolerability of tergenpumatucel-L was demonstrated in the study with no serious drug related (grade 4) adverse events reported; the most frequent drug related adverse events reported in the study were skin reactions at the injection sites.
NewLink is currently conducting a Phase 2b/3 trial comparing tergenpumatucel-L to docetaxel for patients with previously treated NSCLC. This study will compare the response rates of follow-on chemotherapy for patients whose disease progresses in either the docetaxel or tergenpumatucel-L arm to further investigate tergenpumatucel-L's potential to produce a chemo-sensitization effect. Tergenpumatucel-L is the second most advanced product in clinical testing from NewLink's HyperAcute platform technology.
"Lung cancer continues to be the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in this country. Response rates to currently available cytotoxic chemotherapies in previously treated patients are typically less than 10 percent with median survival being less than 8 months. Immune therapies such as tergenpumatucel-L have the promise of improving the outcomes without producing excessive toxicities. If Phase 3 trials confirm these results, tergenpumatucel-L would fill a significant unmet need for these patients," said Ramaswamy Govindan, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine.
"Our Phase 2 trial data demonstrate the potential of tergenpumatucel-L to improve survival while enhancing response rates to subsequent therapies," said Nicholas Vahanian, M.D., President and Chief Medical Officer of NewLink Genetics. "Combined with results from studies of HyperAcute products for other indications, these data show that our HyperAcute technology has the potential to effectively stimulate the human immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells."The Phase 2 data were discussed in a poster presentation entitled "Potential chemo-sensitization effect of tergenpumatucel-L immunotherapy in treated patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)," by NewLink Genetics researchers and collaborators at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).