Morphotek and Mayo to apply folate receptor alpha assays in triple-negative breast cancer trial

February 3, 2016 – EXTON. Morphotek®, Inc., a subsidiary of Eisai Inc., announced today that it is collaborating with researchers Keith L. Knutson, Ph.D. in the Department of Immunology and Edith A. Perez, M.D. in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida in a clinical study in patients with folate receptor alpha (FRA) positive, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The study is supported by a $13.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and provides funding for a 280-patient Phase II clinical trial testing an anti-FRA vaccine in patients with TNBC. Correlative studies within the grant will utilize Morphotek’s proprietary FRA diagnostic assays to quantify FRA expression in patients’ tumors and blood with the intent of developing companion assays.

“We are excited about this clinical study with Mayo Clinic in the field of anti-FRA therapy,” stated Daniel O’Shannessy, Ph.D., Head of Translational Medicine and Diagnostics at Morphotek. “The FRA pathway and development of potential FRA-positive cancer treatments are a key focus of Morphotek. The use of FRA diagnostics in TNBC complements our current development strategy with our investigational agent, farletuzumab, which is being tested in cancers known to express FRA.”

Farletuzumab is currently being tested in a clinical study in first-relapsed, platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer patients with low CA125 levels. The double-blind, randomized-controlled study is designed to prospectively evaluate the clinical effects observed in the previously conducted Phase 3 trial in the pre-specified subset of patients treated with farletuzumab exhibiting low CA125 levels. Further information on the clinical study can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov, study number NCT02289950.

SOURCE Morphotek, Inc.