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ESMO: Reata drug may restore immune response in skin cancer patients

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ESMO: Reata drug may restore immune response in skin cancer patients

Reata Pharmaceuticals Inc. said its novel compound omaveloxolone, in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s checkpoint inhibitors Opdivo or Yervoy, may restore immune response in patients with melanoma, according to data from an early stage trial.

According to results from the ongoing phase 1b trial that were presented at the ESMO Immuno Oncology Congress 2017, a little over half of the patients that were checkpoint inhibitor naive or resistant demonstrated an overall response rate, or a shrinkage in their tumor.

The study involves 30 patients, seven of whom are checkpoint inhibitor naive.

Researchers plan to further investigate the drug combo.

"More data is needed before we can make a final call on whether there is a place, and where would the place be, for this combination in the current treatment portfolio," Olivier Michielin, the head of Personalised Analytical Oncology at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois in Switzerland, said in a statement.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted orphan drug status to omaveloxolone in treating stage IIb through IV malignant melanoma.