SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Aug. 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — ALX Oncology Holdings Inc., (“ALX Oncology”) (Nasdaq: ALXO) a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing therapies that block the CD47 checkpoint pathway, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has granted Fast Track designation to evorpacept, a next generation CD47 blocker, in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, for the first-line treatment of adult patients with PD-L1 positive advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (“HNSCC”).
The FDA’s decision is informed by the results of ALX Oncology’s phase 1 clinical trial, ASPEN-01, that showed preliminary antitumor activity and a favorable safety profile in checkpoint inhibitor-naïve patients with second-line or greater advanced HNSCC treated with evorpacept and pembrolizumab (n=10). The preliminary objective response rate of 40% in this limited population represents an improvement over historical anti-PD-1 monotherapy activity in a similar population and supported the initiation of the ASPEN-03 (NCT04675294) study in May 2021 in collaboration with Merck (known as MSD outside the US and Canada). ASPEN-03 is a randomized phase 2 multi-center study to investigate the anti-tumor efficacy of evorpacept plus pembrolizumab in patients with first-line metastatic or unresectable, recurrent PD-L1 positive HNSCC.
“The FDA’s Fast Track designation for the first-line treatment of HNSCC with evorpacept in combination with pembrolizumab builds upon evorpacept’s prior Fast Track designation in the first-line HNSCC population in combination with pembrolizumab and standard chemotherapy highlighting the potential clinical utility of evorpacept in this difficult-to-treat disease,” said Sophia Randolph, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Medical Officer, ALX Oncology. “We are pleased by the patient enrollment progress being made across our HNSCC phase 2 program (NCT04675294; NCT04675333) as we seek to advance evorpacept to help patients living with this disease.”
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