AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s (AVEO) and EUSA Pharma’s Tivozanib Combo Demonstrates Promise as a Potential Treatment for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma


AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVEO) and EUSA Pharma announced the presentation of promising results from the ongoing Phase 1 portion of the TiNivo study, a Phase 1/2 multicenter trial of tivozanib (FOTIVDA®) in combination with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s nivolumab (OPDIVO®), an immune checkpoint, or PD-1, inhibitor, for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The results were presented on Friday, November 3, at the 16th International Kidney Cancer Symposium in Miami, in an oral presentation titled “TiNivo: A Phase Ib Dose Escalation Trial of Tivozanib and Nivolumab in Renal Cell Carcinoma” by Laurence Albiges, M.D., Ph.D., Head, Genitourinary Unit, Institute Gustave Roussy, and a lead investigator of the study.

The Phase 1 portion of the trial enrolled six patients, three with previously untreated metastatic RCC and three who had received first-line treatment. RCC tumor histology included five clear cell (one with sarcomatoid features) and one papillary. Tivozanib was administered to patients in two escalating dose cohorts (1.0 mg/QD and 1.5 mg/QD) in combination with nivolumab at a constant 240 mg every 2 weeks. The combination was well tolerated to the full dose and schedule of single agent tivozanib, with no dose limiting toxicities. The most common adverse events (any grade) were hypertension, asthenia and decreased appetite. No grade 4 adverse events were reported. Two grade 3 events were reported beyond cycle 1 (stomatitis and increased ALT), which did not lead to study discontinuation and were managed concurrently. Unconfirmed best response to date includes a 67% (4/6) partial response (PR) rate and a 100% disease control rate (PR + stable disease). Enrollment of approximately 20 patients in the Phase 2 portion of the trial is ongoing.

“Combining VEGF TKIs and PD-1s holds the potential for synergistic activity against renal cell carcinoma, yet most such combinations demonstrate a high rate of toxicity in the clinic,” said Dr. Albiges. “Tivozanib has several distinguishing properties that may enhance its ability to combine with checkpoint inhibitors, including a highest in-class selectivity for the VEGF-Receptor (types 1, 2 and 3), and therefore fewer off-target effects, and the ability to significantly reduce regulatory T cells, thereby enhancing immune activity against the tumor. Tivozanib’s favorable tolerability profile has been demonstrated against sorafenib in the pivotal TIVO-1 study, and early results from the TiNivo study show a tolerable combination and evidence of promising activity.”

“We are encouraged by the preliminary tolerability and activity results from the TiNivo study, as we believe they begin to underscore the unique potential of tivozanib-immunotherapy combinations,” said Michael Needle, M.D., chief medical officer of AVEO. “With immunotherapy combinations continuing to demonstrate improved outcomes in patients with RCC, it will become increasingly important to leverage the best-in-class VEGF therapies and immunotherapies to optimize efficacy and tolerability in defined populations within this disease. We believe tivozanib is well-positioned within this evolving landscape, and we look forward to presenting the Phase 2 portion of TiNivo in the first half of next year. We also anticipate moving into additional combination studies in the coming quarters.”

Lee Morley, EUSA Pharma’s Chief Executive Officer said, “Following the recent European approval of tivozanib (FOTIVDA®) for the first-line treatment of patients with advanced RCC, emerging data from the TiNivo study indicates the potential for tivozanib in the setting of combination treatment with immunotherapies. The initial results of the TiNivo study are promising and, in partnership with AVEO, we look forward to developing new and innovative options based on the unique profile of tivozanib which will be important for the future management of patients.”

Shares of AVEO closed on Friday at $3.21, up $0.15 or 4.90%. AVEO has a 1-year high of $4.24 and a 1-year low of $0.50. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $3.43 and its 200-day moving average is $2.31.

On the ratings front, AVEO has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 6, Seaport Global analyst Vernon Bernardino initiated coverage with a Buy rating on AVEO and a price target of $7, which implies an upside of 118% from current levels. Separately, on October 5, Piper Jaffray’s Edward Tenthoff reiterated a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $5.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Vernon Bernardino and Edward Tenthoff have a yearly average return of 2.3% and 7.7% respectively. Bernardino has a success rate of 30% and is ranked #1937 out of 4703 analysts, while Tenthoff has a success rate of 45% and is ranked #700.

AVEO Pharmaceuticals operates as a biopharmaceutical company, which engages in the advancement of therapeutics for oncology and other areas of unmet medical need. Its products include Tivozanib, Ficlatuzmab, AV-203, AV-380, and AV-353. It focuses on the development of its lead candidate, Tivozanib, in North America as a treatment for renal cell carcinoma and other cancers.