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Candel Inks Partnership to ID Predictive Biomarkers for Oncolytic Viral Immunotherapy Regimen Trial

NEW YORK – Candel Therapeutics on Friday said it is working with the Partnership for Accelerating Cancer Therapies (PACT) and the Cancer Immune Monitoring and Analysis Centers - Cancer Immunologic Data Commons (CIMAC-CIDC) network to look for biomarkers that can predict which non-small cell lung cancer patients respond to the combination of the oncolytic viral immunotherapy CAN-2409, the anti-viral drug valacyclovir, and immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Biomarker analysis will be conducted as a part of a Phase II trial studying this treatment cocktail in NSCLC patients at CIMAC-CIDC research centers and sponsored by PACT. 

PACT is a five-year public-private research collaboration launched as part of the Cancer Moonshot Research Initiatives by the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, and 12 drugmakers. PACT has partnered with the CIMAC-CIDC network to identify and standardize biomarkers that predict response to immunotherapy interventions.

In Candel's Phase II trial, researchers will serially collect lung cancer tissue and blood samples from patients in the study and conduct in-depth immunophenotyping. The study will involve three cohorts: NSCLC patients who have had stable disease as their best response to a checkpoint inhibitor; patients who initially responded to immunotherapy but are now progressing; and treatment refractory patients.

The collaboration partners "will analyze samples from each of these cohorts with the aim to identify early biological indicators of response and further stratify potential responders to treatment," Needham, Massachusetts-based Candel said in statement.

Francesca Barone, Candel's VP and head of research, noted in a statement that single-agent CAN-2409, which is the company's lead oncolytic viral immunotherapy candidate, has shown the ability to remodel the tumor immune microenvironment and activate patients' immune responses. "The data generated through this collaboration will broaden our understanding of the biological response to combination therapy of CAN-2409 with immune checkpoint inhibitors, as we endeavor to bring effective new treatment options to patients with cancer," Barone added.