Jazz Pharmaceuticals has entered a research partnership with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to assess Jazz’s zanidatamab for HER2-expressing cancers.

Under the five-year strategic agreement, the translational therapy and clinical research capabilities of MD Anderson will be merged with the cancer drug development expertise of Jazz.

Jazz and MD Anderson will assess zanidatamab as a monotherapy and with other therapies for treating a number of stages and types of tumours. 

The antibody will be evaluated in rare, tissue-agnostic cancers, in early-stage breast cancer patients, for ailments for which other HER2-directed medicines have not been effective and in cancers with different degrees of HER2-expression.

The parties will set up a joint steering committee to supervise the partnership, which will finance a number of studies for five years. 

The companies plan to commence their research under the new deal in late 2023 or early 2024. 

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Jazz and MD Anderson have previously collaborated on haematologic malignancies.

Zanidatamab is a bispecific antibody that targets HER2, and recently received breakthrough therapy status from the US Food and Drug Administration for previously treated HER2 gene-amplified biliary tract cancers.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals research and development global head and executive vice-president Rob Iannone stated: “We think zanidatamab has best-in-class potential as a bispecific antibody utilising biparatopic binding, which results in HER2 signal blockade, as well as immune-mediated cytotoxicity of HER2-expressing cancer cells. 

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with MD Anderson to further evaluate zanidatamab’s potential to be transformative to the current standard-of-care in multiple HER2-expressing cancers.”

In a Phase II HERIZON-BTC-01 trial, zanidatamab offered a 41% objective response rate and long-lasting responses in treatment-refractory HER2-amplified biliary tract cancer patients. 

This content was updated on 25 January 2024