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Merus Inks Partnerships in Israel, Italy, Spain to ID Patients for Bispecific Antibody Trial

NEW YORK – Merus said on Thursday that it has partnered with groups in Israel, Italy, and Spain to increase molecular screening for NRG1 fusion-positive cancers and enroll patients in a clinical trial of its bispecific antibody zenocutuzumab (Zeno).

Specifically, Merus has partnered with Israel-based oncology testing firm Progenetics, the Italian Association for the Study of the Pancreas (AISP), and the Universidad de Navarra in Spain. Merus plans to provide increased NRG1 screening opportunities for pancreatic cancer patients in Israel and Italy and for non-small cell lung cancer patients in Spain. Patients who test positive for NRG1 fusions may be eligible to enroll in Merus' Phase I/II eNRGy clinical trial evaluating the zenocutuzumab for NRG1 fusion-positive solid tumors.

Meanwhile, Progenetics, AISP, and the Universidad de Navarro have all outlined plans to raise patient awareness of NRG1 testing and the eNRGy trial.

"These latest collaborations expand Merus' global efforts to raise awareness of the importance of molecular testing," Andrew Joe, Merus' chief medical officer, said in a statement. "Merus' support in the screening of these patients is also a strategic effort to potentially identify and recruit patients with cancer harboring NRG1 fusions for our eNRGy trial."

The new collaborations follow similar ones with cancer centers in Japan and the Netherlands, announced earlier this year. The firm is now working with more than 10 industry and academic partners in Asia, North America, and Europe.