Bristol-Myers Squibb and Celgene have formed a clinical trial alliance to work together on a potential new cancer combination therapy.

The firms will conduct a Phase I study to evaluate the safety, tolerability and early efficacy of a regimen of B-MS’ investigational PD-1 immune checkpoint inhibitor Opdivo (nivolumab) and Celgene’s chemotherapy Abraxane (paclitaxel protein-bound particles for injectable suspension).

The study - which is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014 and will be carried out by Celgene - will look at multiple tumour types, including HER-2 negative metastatic breast cancer, pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

The companies are hoping that combining the immunotherapy Opdivo, which targets distinct regulatory components of the immune system, with the chemotherapy Abraxane, which works by interfering with the ability of cancer cells to divide, will lead to a greater anti-tumour response than either agent alone. 

Further details on the deal, the latest in a growing line of clinical trial hook ups within the cancer immunotherapy field, were not disclosed.