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First patient dosed in QBiotics & MSD clinical trial collaboration for unresectable melanoma

  • First patient dosed with QBiotics’ lead oncology molecule tigilanol tiglate in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in a clinical trial collaboration with MSD (tradename of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA)
  • The Phase Ib/IIa study will test the safety, optimal dose and tumour response of the combination in patients with late-stage unresectable melanoma and previous exposure to immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • The multi-centre study will enrol approximately 22 patients across a number of Australian sites
  • Melanoma is the most-deadly form of skin cancer, with more than 320,000 new cases diagnosed globally.1

BRISBANE, 3 June 2021. QBiotics Group Limited (QBiotics), a life sciences company developing novel small molecule anticancer and wound healing pharmaceuticals, is pleased to announce that it has dosed the first patient in the Phase Ib/IIa clinical trial of the company’s lead oncology molecule, tigilanol tiglate in combination with MSD’s immune checkpoint inhibitor KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) for patients with unresectable melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The QB46C-H06 multi-centre, open label study will enrol approximately 22 patients with Stage IIIB to IV M1c-melanoma across a number of Australian sites over 24 months. The study will test up to three intratumoural doses of tigilanol tiglate at three escalating dose levels, administered 3 weeks apart in combination with intravenous pembrolizumab administered every 3 weeks for up to 24 months. The study will evaluate the safety, optimal dose and tumour response of the tigilanol tiglate and pembrolizumab combination in patients with late-stage unresectable melanoma, who have been previously exposed to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Dr Victoria Gordon, Managing Director and CEO of QBiotics, said “We are very pleased to be collaborating with MSD in the fight against melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer prevalent worldwide, but especially so here in Australia.

Dr Gordon continued “Patients with unresectable melanoma who have received prior checkpoint inhibitors currently have limited effective treatment options. We hope to see that when combined, tigilanol tiglate and KEYTRUDA® may produce additive anti-tumour immune responses, improving outcomes for patients.”

Over the last decade, the global cases of melanoma have increased by nearly 50 percent, with more than 320,000 people diagnosed annually. This translates to approximately 60,000 melanoma-related deaths per year.1 Australia has the highest melanoma rates in the world, with one person diagnosed every 30 minutes, and an estimated 1,300 deaths each year.2

Tigilanol tiglate is a plant-derived small molecule, administered by injection directly into a solid tumour. Injected tumours are rapidly destroyed by tumour cell necrosis, vascular disruption, and immune-mediated mechanisms.3 Pembrolizumab is a systemic immune checkpoint inhibitor, which reactivates the immune system by blocking the activity of PD-1, an immune checkpoint protein that prevents T cells from recognising and killing cancer cells.4

“The commencement of this trial with our first patient dosed is a significant milestone for QBiotics and is underpinned by positive outcomes from our Phase I QBC46-H01 Phase I study using tigilanol tiglate as a monotherapy in 22 patients with a broad range of refractory solid tumours. In this Phase I study a single injection of tigilanol tiglate showed an injected tumour response rate of 60% (CR of 20%, PR of 28%, SD of 12%).5 Non-injected (abscopal) responses in distal tumours were observed in two patients with melanoma6,” said Dr Gordon.

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Last Updated: 03-Jun-2021