A liver cancer therapy developed in the laboratory of Scripps Research professor Luc Teyton, MD, PhD, may now proceed to clinical trials, the FDA decided in May.   

The drug, known as ABX196, is licensed to French pharmaceutical company Abivax. The FDA’s approval of the investigational new drug application (IND) for ABX196 allows Abivax to test the therapy in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most common form of liver cancer. 

“The translation of basic research discoveries to the clinic is the greatest achievement we can hope for as clinician scientists,” says Teyton, who is also a member of Abivax’s Scientific Advisory Board. “We are looking forward to impacting the disease in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, especially given the limitations of current therapies.” 

Abivax will test ABX196 in combination with nivolumab (marketed as Opdivo by Bristol-Myers Squibb), a checkpoint inhibitor, in a phase 1/2 clinical trial to treat patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. The initial dose-escalation phase of the study will be conducted at the Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center in San Diego; other leading cancer centers in the U.S. will be involved in the subsequent expansion phase of the study.