AstraZeneca has roped in Eli Lilly in its long list of partners with eyes on kicking off a combination cancer trial. AstraZeneca feels that it will have to rope in more partners and collaborators for its top oncology venture.

The product from AstraZeneca, MEDI4736, is an antibody designed to block a protein called PD-L1. PD-L1 can deter or slow the immune system and by blocking it will allow the body’s defenses to take on the tumors. AstraZeneca will be loaning the antibody molecule to Elli Lilly for a phase 1 trial. The trial will be conducted concurrently with Lilly’s Cyramza, a VEGF blocker approved to treat gastric, lung and colorectal cancers.

The duo is not forthcoming about the financial details and only revealed that Lilly will pay for trial and recruit patients who have advanced solid tumors. If this venture is successful the companies could extend this partnership into patients with other types of tumor.

AstraZeneca immuno-oncology head Robert Iannone said in a statement extolled the benefits of collaboration with Lilly and said that the final beneficiary will be the cancer patients.

AstraZeneca is also following the same principles of its rivals Merck and Bristol-Myers Squibb which is matching PD-1 and PD-L1 therapies with other marketed or in-development treatments as the best method to advance immuno-oncology science. Astra is continuously widening its number of associates in its goal of getting MEDI4736 approved for a host of cancers.

Astra and Lilly’s will be testing their products – anti-PD-L1 drug MEDI4736 and ramucirumab or Cyramza. The trial is being sponsored by Lilly’s because it has a potential to open doors for combination drugs for different types of cancer.

Now talking about the two drugs- both of them fight cancer but their approach is different. While MEDI4736 augments the body’s immune system for fighting cancer while Cyramza cuts of the body’s blood supply for these tumors.

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