BerGenBio ASA (OSE: BGBIO), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, selective AXL kinase inhibitors for severe unmet medical needs, today announced the formation of a scientific advisory board consisting of four world-renowned non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) experts from top oncology centers around the globe to enhance the development of bemcentinib for the treatment of NSCLC patients with STK11 mutations (STK11m).
“We are very proud and honored to have assembled a group of leading international NSCLC experts to guide us as we investigate bemcentinib in 1st line NSCLC STK11m in combination with today’s standard of care,” said Cristina Oliva, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of BerGenBio. “Their expertise will play an integral role in our evaluation of bemcentinib and its potential to provide significant benefits to patients who today face a particularly poor prognosis.”
Despite significant advances in immuno-oncology treatments, NSCLC is still one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths worldwide. Patients harboring STK11m, which represent approximately ~20% of non-squamous NSCLC cases, almost universally demonstrate high levels of AXL activation and show lower response rates to current standard of care therapy of anti-PD-1/L1 combined with chemotherapy. BerGenBio’s lead compound, bemcentinib, is designed to selectively inhibit AXL, which may potentially sensitize STK11m NSCLC patients to checkpoint inhibitors and improve the effects of chemotherapy. The Company has initiated a global Phase 1a/2b trial to assess bemcentinib with standard of care in 1st line NSCLC patients with STK11m.
Members of the BerGenBio NSCLC Scientific Advisory Board:
Enriqueta Felip, M.D., Ph.D.: Dr. Enriqueta Felip is the Head of the Thoracic Cancer Unit at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Spain, where she is responsible for thoracic malignancy management and all lung cancer trials. She is President of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM) 2021-23, a member of the Spanish Lung Cancer Group (SLCG) and a Professor of Medicine at the Universitat de Vic. Previously, Dr. Felip was on the Board of Directors of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC). She received her M.D. and Ph.D. from Autonomous University of Barcelona.
John Heymach, M.D., Ph.D.: Dr. John Heymach is the Chair of Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Texas, and holds the David Bruton Endowed Chair in Cancer Research. Dr. Heymach is a co-leader of the MD Anderson Lung Cancer Moon Shot, in addition to serving as a Principal Investigator of lung cancer programs funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), LUNGevity and American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and earning several prestigious awards for excellence in basic science, translational research and mentoring. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Stanford University.
Tony Mok, M.D., BMSc: Dr. Tony Mok is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Clinical Oncology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Dr. Mok’s research was instrumental in establishing the use of precision medicine in advanced lung cancer. He co-founded the Lung Cancer Research Group and served as the associate editor for thoracic oncology for the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Dr. Mok is a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), former President of IASLC and received the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award. He received his M.D. and BMSc from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Solange Peters, M.D., Ph.D.: Dr. Solange Peters is a Professor and Head of Medical Oncology and Thoracic Malignancies at the Department of Oncology at Lausanne University, Switzerland, where she is also building a translational program in collaboration with molecular oncology laboratories. Dr. Peters was recently the President of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2020-22, and was formerly an IASLC Board member and co-chair of the Swiss Lung Cancer Research Group. She is Associate Editor of the Annals of Oncology and Deputy Editor of Lung Cancer. She received her M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Lausanne.