For patients’ sake, collaborate already

Editor’s Commentary: How and where industry can collaborate on cancer immunotherapy platform trials

Cancer immunotherapy companies must stop squandering the most precious stakeholder, patients, and collaborate now on platform trials to test new combination regimens. A straightforward platform trial design that tests different combo partners with PD-1/PD-L1 agents could save companies time, money and get even greater advancements to patients faster.

Combination studies account for the largest portion of the thousands of ongoing PD-1/PD-L1 trials, as companies aim to gain a foothold in immuno-oncology or extend their franchise.

But with the huge degree of duplication across the trials, the calls are growing louder from some of the most influential voices for companies to collaborate.

The loudest thus far has come from head of FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence Richard Pazdur, who devoted nearly his entire one-hour session at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting to pushing the companies with the six marketed anti-PD-1/PD-L1 drugs to put an end to the wasteful redundancy of their trial strategies that are putting patients last, not first (see “Pazdur on Pandemonium: Calls for Collaboration, Competition on PD-1 Drugs”).

The goal of these combo trials is to unlock the benefits of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibition in patients who don’t respond to monotherapy, and extend them to tumor types where the drugs have shown limited efficacy.

Despite the feverish activity, we’re no closer to understanding in which patients these agents work best. The lack of a unified assay for PD-1 or PD-L1 means these trials could

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