Tolero Pharmaceuticals (USA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has entered into a clinical research collaboration with AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, exploring the potential of combination therapy with AbbVie’s venetoclax and Tolero’s investigational agent, alvocidib, for the treatment of relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Alvocidib is a small molecule inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9), which controls the expression of a survival factor, MCL-1. Venetoclax is a small molecule inhibitor of B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2). Both MCL-1 and BCL-2 are key proteins used by certain cancer cells to avoid apoptosis, and non-clinical studies have shown that cancer cells can resist inhibition of BCL-2 by using MCL-1 to avoid cell death. Alvocidib is currently in Phase II development for the treatment of MCL-1-dependent AML.
“We are very pleased to announce our clinical research collaboration with AbbVie, as it marks an important step in the development of this novel agent for patients with relapsed/refractory AML,” said David J. Bearss, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Tolero. “Preclinical data suggest that the mechanisms of action for venetoclax and alvocidib may synergistically drive apoptosis in cancer cells. We hope to further investigate this hypothesis with our planned trial of this combination therapy in patients with relapsed/refractory AML.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Tolero and AbbVie will equally share all development expenses. Tolero will retain full commercial rights for alvocidib and AbbVie will retain full commercial rights for venetoclax.
Tolero Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company researching and developing treatments to improve and extend the lives of patients with oncological and hematological diseases. Its diverse pipeline targets important biological drivers of blood disorders to treat leukemias, anemia, and solid tumors, as well as targets of drug resistance and transcriptional control. Tolero Pharmaceuticals, based in Lehi (Utah, USA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, a Japanese pharma company.
AbbVie is a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in North Chicago (Illinois, USA). The company focused on treating conditions such as chronic autoimmune diseases in rheumatology, gastroenterology and dermatology; oncology, including blood cancers; virology, including hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus; neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease; metabolic diseases, including thyroid disease and complications associated with cystic fibrosis; as well as other serious health conditions.