Prelude Therapeutics Joins Forces with Merck for Cancer Treatment Trial

Prelude Therapeutics

WILMINGTON, DEPrelude Therapeutics Incorporated (Nasdaq: PRLD) has announced a collaboration with Merck to evaluate a new cancer treatment. The Phase 2 clinical trial will test Prelude’s investigational drug, PRT3789, in combination with Merck’s KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab). This study targets patients with SMARCA4-mutated cancers, which currently have limited treatment options.

PRT3789 is a first-in-class SMARCA2 degrader that selectively breaks down specific proteins involved in cancer growth. Early trials have shown promise, and the ongoing Phase 1 study aims to determine its safety, tolerability, and effective dosage. Plans are in place to conclude this phase by mid-2024.

The collaboration with Merck leverages the complementary mechanisms of PRT3789 and KEYTRUDA. KEYTRUDA is an anti-PD-1 therapy that helps the immune system detect and fight cancer cells. Combining it with PRT3789 could enhance anti-tumor immunity, as supported by pre-clinical data presented at the 2023 AACR International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics. In these models, the combination showed improved tumor regression.

Jane Huang, M.D., President and Chief Medical Officer of Prelude, expressed enthusiasm for the partnership. “We are excited for this opportunity to work together with Merck on this study combining our novel, highly selective SMARCA2 degrader with KEYTRUDA,” she said.

Under the agreement, Merck will supply KEYTRUDA while Prelude sponsors the trial. Both companies retain their commercial rights to the respective therapies, either alone or in combination.

This collaboration highlights the growing trend of combining targeted therapies with immunotherapies to improve cancer treatment. If successful, this trial could pave the way for new therapeutic options for patients with SMARCA4-mutated cancers, potentially transforming the landscape of cancer care.

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