Compugen touts ovarian cancer data in combo with Opdivo, anti-TIGIT from ex-partner Bristol Myers
Compugen presented a batch of data from early-stage trials of its anti-PVRIG candidate in dual and triple combination studies, including one with an anti-TIGIT therapy, but the pairings are no longer part of the biotech’s strategy after it recently axed a yearslong Bristol Myers Squibb collaboration.
And, for a brief period this fall, the indication was not a focus of the biotech’s future development plans, but Tuesday’s data are enough to shore up confidence for another study in platinum resistant ovarian cancer, the Holon, Israel-based drug developer said Tuesday.
In one of the studies partially presented Tuesday, Compugen paired its asset, COM701, with Bristol Myers’ Opdivo and anti-TIGIT BMS-986207 in patients with platinum resistant ovarian cancer.
As of Nov. 23, the biotech observed four confirmed partial responses out of 20 patients who had a median number of four prior therapies. Three of those four patients were responding “for at least 9 months,” Compugen said. The responders are still taking the drug, “therefore median duration of response has not been reached.”
Another five of the 20 patients have stable disease, Compugen reported.
In the other study, COM701 was only paired with Opdivo in patients with platinum resistant epithelial ovarian cancer who had received a median number of six previous therapies. Also as of Nov. 23, two of 20 patients had a partial response, with one ongoing at the cutoff date. One of those patients had previously received seven lines of treatments. Another seven patients had stable disease.
Ovarian cancer has long been a difficult corner of oncology for checkpoint inhibitors, with early phase trials of PD-L1/PD1 inhibitors showing response rates in the range of 10% to 15%.
Going forward, COM701 will not be tested in combination with BMS assets. In August, the biotech said it was ending its pact with Bristol Myers, inked in 2018 and planned to conclude toward the end of 2023, which came as a “surprise” to Jefferies analysts. CEO Anat Cohen-Dayag said the company has a “very good relationship with Bristol.”
At the time, Compugen also said it was focusing in on MSS-colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The NSCLC patient population has a lot of data, and some of the key TIGIT players, like Gilead/Arcus, are testing their therapies in that patient population. There would be a high bar to meet, and competing for patients would surely be part of the equation, but Compugen thought it would lead to a high probability of success, Cohen-Dayag said.
But months later, the biotech revised the focus once again, swapping NSCLC for ovarian cancer after being encouraged by data.
Cohen-Dayag told Endpoints News the biotech “couldn’t ignore” the data they were seeing out of the studies in patients with ovarian cancer, who typically are “not really responding to anything.”
The nearly 30-year-old biotech, close to penny stock territory, will move COM701 forward in two studies. One of the trials will start early next year as a triplet investigation: COM701 plus Compugen’s own anti-TIGIT (COM902) and Merck’s Keytruda. Enrollment will wrap next year in that study, which will enroll up to 20 patients with metastatic MSS-CRC.
The second study is still under design and will include platinum resistant ovarian cancer patients who are immune checkpoint inhibitor naïve. Cohen-Dayag declined to say whether the trial will be monotherapy, dual or other sorts of combinations.
Compugen was originally a computational software partner to the pharma industry but has since expanded to include its own pipeline, like Schrödinger and others. The company is also partnered with AstraZeneca and recently received a milestone payment as part of the pact’s progression into Phase II with a bispecific antibody.