• news.cision.com/
  • BerGenBio ASA/
  • BerGenBio completes recruitment into second stage of Phase II trial with selective AXL inhibitor bemcentinib in combination with KEYTRUDA® in patients with advanced NSCLC

BerGenBio completes recruitment into second stage of Phase II trial with selective AXL inhibitor bemcentinib in combination with KEYTRUDA® in patients with advanced NSCLC

Report this content
  • Phase II, Simon two-stage trial evaluating bemcentinib and KEYTRUDA in previously treated NSCLC post chemotherapy (Cohort A, NCT03184571)
  • First stage previously met efficacy endpoint
  • Second stage enrolled a further 24 patients for a total of 48; efficacy and biomarker data updates expected at medical conferences during 2019

Bergen, Norway, 08 May 2019 – BerGenBio ASA (OSE: BGBIO) announces that it has completed enrolment into the second stage of its Phase II trial (BGBC008, Cohort A NCT03184571) evaluating the Company’s selective AXL inhibitor bemcentinib in combination with MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab), in patients with previously treated advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung (non-small cell lung cancer, NSCLC) whose disease is progressing on or after prior systemic chemotherapy.

The trial has previously met the efficacy endpoint in the first stage and reported preliminary efficacy including a 40% ORR and 5.9 months Progression-free survival (PFS) in AXL positive patients (n=10). The second stage of the trial enrolling a further 24 patients for a total of 48 is designed to confirm the safety, clinical efficacy and biomarker correlation of the combination.

Comprehensive exploratory studies will continue to evaluate biomarkers in tumour and blood indicative of AXL expression and immune modulation. Results from the trial are expected during 2019.

The trial, which began in October 2017, is being conducted under a clinical collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, N.J., USA, through a subsidiary, and is taking place at sites in the US, UK, Norway and Spain.

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented: “A majority of NSCLC patients now receive anti-PD(L)-1 therapies like KEYTRUDA as a first- or second-line treatment for their advanced disease. Enhancing responses to these novel agents, particularly in patients with no or limited expression of PD-L1, the established biomarker for these drugs, is a significant unmet need. I am encouraged by the efficacy signals seen during stage 1 of the trial, particularly in AXL positive, and often PD-L1 negative or low, patients and look forward providing data from an extended dataset during the coming months together with further details on our late stage strategy in this indication.”

- End -


It is estimated that more than 230,000 new cases of lung cancer have been diagnosed in the US in 2018 and it is the leading cause of cancer deaths. 65% of NSCLCs are of adenocarcinoma pathology. Although various treatments exist for NSCLC, they are often curtailed by acquired resistance to therapy and immune evasion. Novel treatments overcoming these mechanisms in NSCLC are urgently required.

About the BGBC008 trial

The BGBC008 trial is a Phase II open-label study of bemcentinib in combination with KEYTRUDA (pembrolizumab) in previously treated patients with advanced adenocarcinoma of the lung run at centres in the US, UK, Spain and Norway. The objective of the trial is to determine the anti-tumour activity of this novel drug combination and responses will be correlated with biomarker status (including AXL kinase and PD-L1 expression).

Patients eligible for participation in Cohort A must have progressed on or after prior therapy excluding immunotherapy whereas patients in Cohort B will be actively progressing on a therapy regimen containing an anti-PD(L)-1 therapy.

Both cohorts follow a two-stage design, Cohort A has previously successfully progressed into the second stage after meeting its first efficacy endpoint. Cohort B will evaluate advancement into stage 2 after 13 patients have been assessed for response.

For more information please access trial NCT03184571 at www.clinicaltrials.gov.

About AXL

AXL kinase is a cell membrane receptor and an essential mediator of the biological mechanisms that drive aggressive and life-threatening diseases. In cancer, AXL drives tumour survival, treatment resistance and spread, as well as suppressing the body’s immune response to tumours. AXL expression has been established as a negative prognostic factor in many cancers. AXL inhibitors, therefore, have potential value at the centre of cancer combination therapy, addressing significant unmet medical needs and multiple high-value market opportunities.

About BerGenBio ASA  

BerGenBio is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative drugs targeting AXL as a potential cornerstone of therapy for aggressive diseases, including immune-evasive, therapy resistant cancers. The company’s proprietary lead candidate, bemcentinib, is a potentially first-in-class selective AXL inhibitor in a broad phase II oncology clinical development programme focussed on combination and single agent therapy in lung cancer and leukaemia. A first-in-class functional blocking anti-AXL antibody is undergoing Phase 1 clinical testing. In parallel, BerGenBio is developing a companion diagnostic test to identify those patient populations most likely to benefit from bemcentinib: this is expected to facilitate more efficient registration trials supporting a precision medicine-based commercialisation strategy.

BerGenBio is based in Bergen, Norway with a subsidiary in Oxford, UK. The company is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (ticker: BGBIO). www.bergenbio.com


Richard Godfrey CEO, BerGenBio ASA
+47 917 86 304

Rune Skeie, CFO, BerGenBio ASA
+47 917 86 513

International Media Relations

Mary-Jane Elliott, Chris Welsh, Nicholas Brown, Carina Jurs, Consilium Strategic Communications
+44 20 3709 5700

Media Relations in Norway
Jan Petter Stiff, Crux Advisers
+47 995 13 891

Forward looking statements

This announcement may contain forward-looking statements, which as such are not historical facts, but are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions. These assumptions are inherently subject to significant known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors. Such risks, uncertainties, contingencies and other important factors could cause actual events to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in this announcement by such forward-looking statements.

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.