Jazz Pharmaceuticals has signed a five-year research collaboration deal with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to assess zanidatamab in various HER2-expressing cancers.

Zanidatamab is Jazz Pharmaceuticals’ investigational HER2-targeted bispecific antibody. It has been developed to simultaneously bind two non-overlapping epitopes of HER2.

The partnership will combine the pharmaceutical company’s oncology drug development capabilities with the translational medicine and clinical research knowhow of MD Anderson.

The collaboration is intended to evaluate the potential of zanidatamab both as a monotherapy and in combination with other treatments for patients with various tumour forms and stages. These include malignancies with varied degrees of HER2-expression, treatment regions where prior HER2-directed therapies have failed, early-stage breast cancer, and possibly uncommon, tissue-agnostic cancers.

MD Anderson investigational cancer therapeutics chair Funda Meric-Bernstam said: “Current data indicates that zanidatamab has anti-tumour activity in multiple HER2-positive solid tumours, including positive results from a pivotal clinical trial for patients with HER2-amplified biliary tract cancers.

“We are pleased to extend our research efforts with Jazz through this new collaboration, which aims to address significant unmet needs in HER2-expressing solid tumours and to look for safe and effective alternatives to chemotherapy in diseases like early-stage breast cancer.”

According to Jazz Pharmaceuticals, MD Anderson has contributed to the early studies examining the use of zanidatamab against an actionable target in the treatment of various types of tumours. These include the Phase 2 HERIZON-BTC-01 trial, which assessed the bispecific antibody in patients with HER2-amplified biliary tract cancers that were resistant to treatment.

The results of the trial showed a confirmed objective response rate of 41% and persistent responses, the Irish biopharmaceutical company said.

A joint steering committee will be formed by MD Anderson and Jazz Pharmaceuticals to manage the partnership, which will finance several projects during its five-year duration.

It is anticipated that the collaboration’s research will start in late 2023 or early 2024.

The latest collaboration expands on a prior engagement between the parties, which was concentrated on haematologic malignancies.

Jazz Pharmaceuticals research and development global head and executive vice president Rob Iannone said: “We look forward to continuing to collaborate with MD Anderson to further evaluate zanidatamab’s potential to be transformative to the current standard-of-care in multiple HER2-expressing cancers.

“We are dedicated to advancing new treatment options for patients and we believe in the power of collaboration to accelerate the pace of research in difficult-to-treat cancers where persistent treatment gaps remain.”