Immunicum: MERECA Update Confirms Ilixadencel Benefit
Redeye Research Note 2021/02/22
According to a survival update from the Phase II MERECA trial, the median survival (mOS) for advanced kidney cancer patients treated with sunitinib plus ilixadencel has now been determined at 35.6 months. The benefit is very much in line with previous projections (see our comment on the August 2020 update). It indicates a survival benefit over sunitinib alone (mOS 25.3 months in the control arm of the MERECA trial).
As previously reported, the response rates were also higher in the arm treated with ilixadencel. However, there was no difference vs. the control arm regarding progression-free survival.
Immunicum has hinted at future clinical development of ilixadencel in combination with checkpoint inhibitors which have become a dominant component of the standard of care first-line treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. A Phase Ib trial (ILIAD) investigating the safety of combination treatment with ilixadencel and leading checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab in solid tumors has recently been fully recruited. Immunicum expects to report top-line results in Q3, 2021, and the outcome will likely determine the path ahead for ilixadencel not only in kidney cancer but also in other solid tumors. The treatment synergies with sunitinib bode well for other cancers where sunitinib is part of the current standard of care, e.g., GIST.
Immunicum is planning for a strategy update following the merger with DCPrime in Q1. We regard the MERECA update as positive, albeit in line with our expectations, and do not make any changes to our valuation at this point, anticipating the upcoming strategy update.