Merus N.V., Utrecht, the Netherlands, and Caris Life Sciences, Irving, Texas, are collaborating to detect neuregulin 1 (NRG1) fusions in cancer patients. Under the agreement, Caris will perform whole exome sequencing of DNA and whole transcriptome sequencing of RNA for certain cancer patients, focusing on pancreatic cancer, to identify the presence of NRG1 fusions and to increase awareness of and potential enrollment in Merus’ bispecific antibody Zenocutuzumab (“Zeno”) Phase 1/2 eNRGy trial.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Merus and to identify patients with NRG1 fusions,” says David Spetzler, MS, PhD, MBA, president and chief scientific officer of Caris Life Sciences. “Our molecular profiling tools provide critical information physicians and patients need to make informed treatment decisions. We look forward to providing this important molecular information to clinicians, and Merus, to evaluate patient eligibility for the eNRGy trial with Zeno.”
The NRG1 gene fusion is a rare, powerful driver of cancer cell growth found in lung, pancreatic, and other solid tumor types. Zeno, through its unique mechanism of blocking the interaction of the NRG1 fusion protein with its receptor HER3, has the potential to be particularly effective against NRG1+ cancers.
“We look forward to working with Caris to identify patients who may benefit from Zeno,” says Bill Lundberg, MD, president, chief executive officer, and principal financial officer of Merus. “While genomic sequencing is more commonly being used in the healthcare setting, it is not sufficiently employed in the diagnosis and management of pancreatic and other cancers where treatment options have been limited. We believe our collaboration with Caris will help to raise awareness of the value of molecular profiling in pancreatic and other cancers, and potentially enhance enrollment in our Zeno eNRGy trial and Early Access Program.”