Defactinib (FAK Inhibitor)
Defactinib is currently being evaluated in three separate clinical collaborations in combination with immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of several different cancer types, including pancreatic, ovarian, non-small cell lung cancer, and mesothelioma.
Defactinib is an oral small molecule inhibitor of FAK and PYK2. Verastem has patent protection for defactinib through 2029, and has received orphan drug designation for defactinib in ovarian and mesothelioma in the US, the EU, and Australia.
Clinical Development in Advanced Cancers
Defactinib has been studied in over 300 patients and has shown a well-tolerated safety profile. Initial signs of activity has been observed in clinical studies as a monotherapy in KRAS mt (mutation) NSCLC and in relapsed ovarian cancer in combination with paclitaxel have been observed.
Clinical Investigation of Defactinib Combinations
Preclinical research by Verastem scientists and collaborators at world-renowned research institutions has described the central role FAK signaling has in effectively reducing cancer stem cells, enhancing immune response by decreasing immuno-suppressive cells and increasing cytotoxic T cells and reducing stromal density, which allows both drug and tumor-killing immune cells to enter the tumor. Additionally, immuno-modulatory effects were shown to substantially increase survival of mice when FAK inhibitors were combined with an anti-PD-1 immune checkpoint antibody. These results have indicated the potential promise of combination therapy in future clinical studies.
Defactinib is currently being evaluated as a potential combination therapy for pancreatic cancer, NSCLC, ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.
Ongoing studies with defactinib include:
A Phase 1b study in combination with Merck & Co.’s PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab and gemcitabine in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. To learn more about this study, visit ClinicalTrials.gov.
A Phase 1/2 collaboration with Pfizer Inc. and Merck KGaA to evaluate combination therapy with avelumab, an anti-PD-L1 antibody, in patients with relapsed ovarian cancer. To learn more about this study, visit ClinicalTrials.gov.
A Phase 1/2 collaboration with Merck & Co. and Cancer Research UK to evaluate combination therapy with pembrolizumab. Following dose escalation, three expansion arms are planned in NSCLC, relapsed pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma. To learn more about these studies, visit ClinicalTrials.org (NSCLC study | mesothelioma study).
Investigator Sponsored Trials (IST)
Verastem is committed to advancing the science and development of its product candidates toward improving outcomes for patients with cancer. Verastem welcomes collaboration with researchers and sponsoring institutions toward this shared goal.
To submit a research proposal, please complete and submit the following form to verastem-IST@verastem.com.