- Global Pharma News & Resources

SignalChem Enters a Clinical Trial Collaboration with Merck to Evaluate the Effect of SLC-391 in Combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – March 25, 2021Life Science Newswire – SignalChem Lifesciences, a clinical-stage company developing novel targeted therapies for oncology, announces a collaboration with Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, through a subsidiary, to evaluate the combination of SLC-391, a selective AXL inhibitor developed by SignalChem, with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), Merck’s anti-PD-1 therapy, in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

AXL, a member of the TAM family protein tyrosine kinases (Tyro3, AXL and Mer), plays a key role in cell survival, angiogenesis, metastasis and therapeutic resistance. SLC-391 is a clinical stage small molecule AXL inhibitor with high potency, selectivity and desirable pharmaceutical properties. SLC-391 disrupts cell division, inhibiting tumor growth and causing cancer cells to die.

Based on emerging evidence, a clinical investigation has been initiated to evaluate SLC-391 in combination with KEYTRUDA in the treatment of patients with advanced NSCLC.

SignalChem will conduct the study in multiple cancer centers in the US and Canada to evaluate the clinical outcome of combining SLC-391 and KEYTRUDA. The two companies plan to conduct the SKYLITE trial, a phase 2 study for patients with NSCLC.

The SKYLITE trial is a multi-centre, single arm, open-label, Phase 2 Study of SLC-391 in combination with KEYTRUDA in subjects with NSCLC.  Subjects will receive daily doses of SLC-391 orally for 21-day cycles in combination with the commercially approved dose and schedule of KEYTRUDA. The SKYLITE trial will evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination therapy, and includes the exploration of biomarkers relating to AXL signaling that may correlate with anti-tumor activity. 

“We welcome the collaboration with Merck. We consider Merck’s clinical development expertise to be valuable and believe this relationship may contribute to the development of SLC-391 for the treatment of patients with advanced stage lung cancer. These patients experience aggressive tumors that are often difficult to treat. We hope this collaboration with Merck will lead to a new approach that addresses this important unmet need,” says Mr. Jun Yan, President, SignalChem Lifesciences. “We look forward to partnering with Merck as we aim to deliver new cancer treatments and advance SLC’s drug discovery platform. We at SLC are working hard to identify new anti-tumor, anti-metastatic, and anti-chemo-resistance therapies that provide meaningful alternatives to existing treatments.”

About Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, which forms in the tissues of the lungs, usually within cells lining the air passages, is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide. Each year, more people die of lung cancer than colon, breast and prostate cancers combined. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for 84% of all lung cancer diagnoses. The overall 5-year survival rate for NSCLC is 24%, ranging from 61% for localized NSCLC to 6% for metastatic disease.

About SLC-391

SLC-391 is a potent, selective and orally bioavailable small molecule AXL inhibitor. Currently, phase I clinical trial is ongoing in Canada to evaluate the safety and tolerability of SLC-391 in cancer patients with solid tumor.

About SignalChem

SignalChem Lifesciences Corporation (“SLC”), headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, is a clinical-stage company developing novel targeted therapies for oncology. SLC has a strong small-molecule drug development pipeline. Our novel targeted compounds are designed internally by a group of scientists with expertise and experience in kinase biology and drug discovery. SLC is seeking strategic partners to aid in bringing our clinical-stage drug pipeline to the market.

SignalChem, a separate division from SignalChem Lifesciences, is a biotech company focused on the research, development and production of innovative and high-quality human recombinant cell signaling products. Throughout the years, SignalChem has capitalized on its core expertise in cellular signaling, molecular biology and protein biochemistry to generate more than 2,000 functional protein products.

SignalChem strives to support scientists in academia, pharma and biotech companies around the world by creating effective research tools to advance the basic research in life sciences and to facilitate the efforts in drug discovery and development.

For more information, please visit

Forward-Looking Statements and Information

This release contains forward-looking statements that are not based on historical facts. These forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, events or developments to be materially different from those expressed or implied. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.

Editor Details

Last Updated: 26-Mar-2021