AstraZeneca’s MedImmune is expanding its alliance with private UK biotech Immunocore to carry out combination immunotherapy trials in skin cancer.

The potential of combining MedImmune’s investigational checkpoint inhibitors MEDI4736 (anti-PD-L1) and/or tremelimumab (anti-CTLA-4) with IMCgp100, Immunocore’s lead T-cell receptor-based therapeutic, will be assessed in treating patients with metastatic melanoma.

The companies will work tougher on establishing dosing regimens within a Phase Ib study, while a Phase II trial will assess the safety and efficacy of the different combinations.

Under the exclusive agreement, MedImmune has first right of negotiation for future commercial development of these combinations for tumours expressing glycoprotein 100 (gp100), a tumour-associated antigen. 

The companies have already been working together since January 2014 to develop novel cancer therapies using Immunocore’s Immune Mobilising Monoclonal T-Cell Receptor Against Cancer (ImmTAC) technology.