REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Nov. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells, today announced that it has started a multi-center Phase 1b clinical trial of its first-in-class Wnt-pathway-targeting antibody vantictumab (OMP-18R5) with docetaxel in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This trial is the second of three Phase 1b trials for vantictumab that OncoMed expects to initiate this year as part of OncoMed's collaboration with Bayer Pharma AG. The Phase 1b clinical trial is a dose escalation study of the anti-CSC antibody vantictumab in combination with docetaxel in patients with second- and third-line advanced NSCLC. Primary objectives of the trial are to evaluate safety of this combination regimen and determine a recommended Phase 2 dose for vantictumab in combination with docetaxel. Key secondary and exploratory objectives include evaluation of the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of vantictumab and the efficacy of this combination. Tumor tissue from patients will be used to explore predictive biomarker hypotheses related to the efficacy of vantictumab. Grace Dy, M.D., Associate Professor at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, is the Principal Investigator who treated the first patient enrolled in this study. Dr. Dy commented, "The investigational agent vantictumab may offer a novel therapeutic approach to lung cancer by targeting the Wnt pathway which may play a significant role both in squamous and non-squamous cell lung cancers. Patients with lung cancer continue to be in need of better therapies, and we are excited about testing the combination of vantictumab with docetaxel in this clinical study based on preclinical data and the strong emphasis on tumor tissue analysis in the study." The two other investigators and clinical sites to participate in the trial are Afshin Dowlati, M.D., of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and Ross Camidge, M.D. at the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Aurora, CO.