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Incyte to Collaborate with AstraZeneca

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Incyte Corporation (INCY) inked a deal with MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca (AZN). The companies have collaborated for a phase I/II study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of AstraZeneca’s MEDI4736 in combination with Incyte’s INCB24360 in cancer patients.

As per the agreement, the study will be co-funded equally by Incyte and AstraZeneca but will be conducted by Incyte. The companies will evaluate the combination in multiple solid tumors including metastatic melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and pancreatic cancer.

The phase I part of the study will establish a recommended dose regimen of both MEDI4736 and INCB24360. The phase II part will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination. Results from the studies will determine whether further clinical development of the combination is necessary.

We are encouraged by Incyte’s collaboration with AstraZeneca. Incyte already has a robust pipeline with several combination studies are underway. Successful development and commercialization of these candidates should drive growth.

Meanwhile, an abstract was posted at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (TATD) on a phase II study on Jakafi or placebo with Roche’s (RHHBY) Xeloda (capecitabine) as second-line therapy in patients suffering from metastatic pancreatic cancer. Data revealed that Jakafi increased overall survival rate and progression-free survival. However, both the results were not statistically significant.  We expect Incyte’s shares to be negatively impacted.

Another abstract that was posted at the ASCO on a phase I/II dose-escalation study evaluating INCB024360 in combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) in patients suffering from melanoma revealed that out of the seven patients enrolled for the 300 mg dosage study of INCB24360, five patients experienced clinically significant elevations of alanine aminotransferase (:ALT) after 30–76 days of treatment. The enrolment for the study was stopped after that. Moreover, one patient, having progressed on prior extensive liver metastases, under the 25 mg treatment of INCB24360 experienced ALT elevation.

Incyte, a biopharmaceutical company, currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the sector include Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD). The stock holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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