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Merrimack Compound Enters Humans


Their first systems biology product enters human clinical development.

By John Russell

Oct. 8, 2008 | Merrimack Pharmaceuticals says it has advanced the first systems biology product to human clinical development. Merrimack announced the first patient has received an initial dose in a Phase 1 clinical study of its first oncology product, MM-121, a human monoclonal antibody and a first-in-class therapeutic designed to block signaling of the ErbB3 receptor.

“We used a combination of high-throughput biology and computer simulation to discern the importance of targeting ErbB3 signaling in tumor cells,” said Ulrik Nielsen, senior VP research. “We believe this is the first systems-designed therapeutic in clinical development. Until now, computer simulation has not been widely applied toward understanding optimal therapeutic strategies for treating cancers driven by complex signaling pathways.”

ErbB3 is a receptor in the ErbB family, a pathway that plays a critical role in cancer signaling. With the initiation of the Phase 1 trial, MM-121 becomes the first systems biology product as well as the first selective ErbB3 antagonist to enter human clinical development.

Preclinical data demonstrating the impact of MM-121 in multiple cancer models were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in April. The Phase 1 dose escalation study will evaluate the safety and pharmacokinetics (PK) of MM-121. Enrollment is underway at Fox Chase Cancer Center and two additional leading oncology sites are expected to participate in the trial later this year.

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This article appeared in Bio-IT World Magazine.

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