Portage Biotech Enters Collaboration with Merck for Clinical Trial

by Warren Seah

Portage Biotech saw a significant increase in its shares, rising 20% to $2.81, following an announcement of a clinical trial collaboration agreement with Merck. The collaboration aims to evaluate the efficacy of Portage’s next-generation adenosine antagonists in combination with Keytruda for treating patients with solid tumors.

Positive Market Response

Despite hitting a 52-week low of $2.30 on Aug. 16, Portage Biotech’s stock has since shown promising signs, experiencing a 68% decline in the past year. However, the recent collaboration with Merck has sparked investor optimism, leading to a notable boost in share price.

Exploring Potential Treatment Options

The collaborative effort will focus on investigating Portage’s adenosine 2A receptor antagonist, PORT-6, and its adenosine 2B receptor antagonist, PORT-7. These compounds will be tested individually, as well as in combination with Keytruda, across various types of cancers. The targeted cancer types include prostate, renal, head and neck, colorectal, endometrial, ovarian, and non-small cell lung cancers.

Aiding Patient Selection Process

Merck is set to provide Keytruda, its anti-programmed death receptor-1 therapy, for Portage Biotech’s adaptive Phase 1a/1b trial. The trial plans to incorporate proprietary biomarkers to identify patients with high adenosine expression. This selective approach will help determine individuals who are more likely to respond to the treatment and potentially benefit the most.

CEO’s Optimism

Ian Walters, Chief Executive Officer of Portage, expressed excitement about the collaboration and the potential it holds for developing innovative therapies that can make a transformative impact on patients’ lives. Walters affirmed the company’s commitment to expanding this collaboration further.

Financial Report

In recent news, Portage Biotech reported a loss of nearly $6 million in its fourth quarter. Despite this, the company remains hopeful about the future, with its recent collaboration opening up new avenues for success.

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