Cancer Research UK and Hummingbird Bioscience today (6 December, 2021) announce the first patient dosed in their first-in-human trial of Hummingbird’s anti-HER3 antibody HMBD-001* for the treatment of people with a range of HER3** driven cancers.
Cancer Research UK is the world’s leading cancer charity, and Hummingbird Bioscience is an innovative clinical-stage biotech company developing precision therapies against hard-to-drug targets in cancer and autoimmune disease.
Under the terms of the clinical development partnership, Cancer Research UK is sponsoring and managing the phase I/IIa clinical trial through its Centre for Drug Development.
The trial is exploring the safety and preliminary evidence of activity of HMBD-001 in patients with advanced HER3 positive solid tumours***, both as a monotherapy and in combination with other anticancer drugs.
Previous attempts to inhibit HER3 have been unsuccessful because they haven’t been able to completely block all the ways in which HER3 is activated. This means that the patient’s cancer can become resistant to the drug.
HMBD-001 is unique in that it is designed to block all forms of HER3 signalling, which may overcome the issue of drug resistance seen in previous HER3 inhibitors.
If successful in clinical trials, HMBD-001 could be the first targeted treatment for hard-to-treat HER3 driven tumours.
People with an extremely rare subtype of cancer involving the receptor known as a neuregulin 1 (NRG1) fusion subtype**** will also be recruited. Patients with this subtype have few available treatment options.
The trial is being led by chief investigator Professor Johann De Bono, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, where the first trial site opened to recruitment. Additional sites in Oxford and Newcastle will open shortly.
Researchers at The Institute of Cancer Research are also leading key experiments and statistical analysis for the trial.
Cancer Research UK and Hummingbird Bioscience expect to see some initial results from the phase I dose escalation phase of the trial in the second half of 2022.
Dr Nigel Blackburn, Director of Cancer Research UK’s Centre for Drug Development, said:
“We are thrilled to be working with Hummingbird Bioscience to advance their novel drug candidate into clinical trials.
“Although HER3 was discovered over 30 years ago, no therapies able to block its cancer-promoting action have been approved.
“Hummingbird has taken fresh aim at a difficult drug target and has come up with a novel, potentially transformative antibody for cancer patients who desperately need new treatments.”
Professor Johann De Bono, Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We are delighted to be launching a clinical trial using HMBD-001 to target HER3 driven cancers. Studies indicate that HER3 plays a vital role in the development of drug resistance and the overall fuelling of many types of cancer.
“We hope HMBD-001 will prove to be effective and that long-term, this trial will help us to further improve outcomes for advanced prostate cancer through this HER3 targeting strategy.”
Dr Jerome Boyd-Kirkup, Chief Scientific Officer for Hummingbird Bioscience, said:
“Dosing of the first patient in the clinical trial of HMBD-001, Hummingbird’s most advanced program, marks the beginning of a potentially transformative approach to treating HER3-driven cancers.
“I am immensely proud of the teamwork that has brought our differentiated program to this point. Hummingbird Bioscience is dedicated to discovering and developing important medicines for cancer and autoimmune disease with our unique Rational Antibody Discovery platform.”
For media enquiries please contact Sophie Lane in the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 5661 or, out of hours, 020 3469 8301.