Lilly and BI start breast cancer trial

Eli Lilly is to collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim on an early-stage study assessing a new combination treatment for metastatic breast cancer, aimed at reversing resistance to hormone therapies.

The phase 1b trial will evaluate safety and tolerability of Lilly’s abemaciclib, in combination with Boehringer’s BI 836845.

Lilly’s drug inhibits cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4 and 6, while Boehringer’s drug is an insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1/IGF-2 neutralising antibody.

The initial trial will be in patients with HR+, HER2- metastatic breast cancer and other solid tumours.

Enrolment is set to begin later this year, and Boehringer Ingelheim will be the sponsor.

Abemaciclib is designed to block cancer cell growth, while the Boehringer antibody prevents activation of the receptor, resulting in decreased growth-promoting signalling, possibly decreasing tumour growth.

The rationale is that the combination could prolong cell cycle arrest and reverse resistance to hormone therapy, the companies said.

The drug has already been tested in a phase 1b/2 trial and has shown preliminary efficacy and good clinical safety in combination with everolimus and exemestane in patients with HR+ metastatic breast cancer.

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