February 4, 2013
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK ) announced in a press release that it has begun a phase 3 study to find out whether two of its drugs -- its BRAF inhibitor dabrafenid and MEK inhibitor trametinib -- can combine to work as a successful therapy for melanoma.
The study, which GSK has dubbed COMBI-AD, will determine if the combination of the two drugs can delay or prevent melanoma from recurring in patients who have had surgery to remove certain types of mutation-positive melanoma. GSK is currently competing with fellow pharmaceutical firm Roche (NASDAQOTH: RHHBY ) to develop combination therapies for the disease; Roche is currently undergoing late-stage trials of a different combination of an MEK inhibitor and BRAF inhibitor of its own.
GSK's head of oncology research and development, Dr. Rafael Amado, was quoted in the press release as saying, "Given the efficacy and safety findings observed with combined dabrafenib-trametinib treatment in the metastatic setting, we are investigating whether the combination administered after surgery can help these patients live longer without melanoma recurrence."