SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 17, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells, presented data today from its ongoing Phase 1b clinical trial of demcizumab (OMP-21M18; anti-DLL4) in first-line Stage IV pancreatic cancer patients at the 2014 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium being held in San Francisco, California. These are the first reported data from the Phase 1b study of demcizumab with gemcitabine to include the addition of Abaxane ® (nab-paclitaxel). Demcizumab is part of OncoMed's collaboration with Celgene Corporation. Dr. Antonio Cubillo of START-Madrid, the presenting author for the poster presentation commented, "Advanced pancreatic cancer is a challenging malignancy with poor survival outcomes for many patients and new drugs that can further improve outcomes are needed. The early data for the combination of demcizumab with Abraxane and gemcitabine are potentially encouraging both from a safety and clinical activity perspective." Demcizumab was generally well tolerated in combination with both gemcitabine and Abraxane with fatigue, hypertension, nausea and vomiting being the most common drug-related toxicities. No demcizumab-related reversible cardiotoxicity events have occurred with the implementation of regular monitoring, a truncated treatment approach and cardioprotective medication, if indicated. The combination of gemcitabine with or without Abraxane did not appear to influence the pharmacokinetics of demcizumab. Three of the six (50%) evaluable patients who received the demcizumab/gemcitabine/Abraxane combination had partial responses as measured by RECIST and two patients had stable disease resulting in a clinical benefit rate of 83%. A randomized Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with first-line pancreatic cancer is planned for the second half of 2014. "These are the first results from this ongoing study to include the addition of Abraxane to the demcizumab plus gemcitabine combination, building off the positive interim data presented at the October 2013 AACR-NCI-EORTC meeting in Boston," said Jakob Dupont, M.D., OncoMed's Chief Medical Officer. "To date, demcizumab has been well tolerated as part of combination therapy, and we are seeing early indications of notable anti-cancer activity with the triple-drug combination."