Apexigen, BMS steal the show with promising I-O combo in pancreatic cancer

Last August, tiny California biotech Apexigen revved up its pipeline with a $73 million venture round that allowed it to move its lead immuno-oncology candidate into clinical trials. Now, it’s rolling out early data from that research that are turning heads at the annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in Atlanta. Apexigen is testing a combination of its CD40-activating antibody with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s PD-1 inhibitor Opdivo and chemotherapy in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. At AACR, they announced that the combination of shrunk tumors in 20 out of 24 patients that could be analyzed in an interim review of a phase 1b study. The results were so encouraging that the trial has moved to phase 2, the presenters said.