Curis Enters into Agreement for Emavusertib / Pembrolizumab Combination Study in Melanoma


LEXINGTON, Mass., Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Curis, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRIS), a biotechnology company focused on the development of emavusertib (CA-4948), an orally available, small molecule IRAK4 inhibitor, today announced that it has entered into an investigator-initiated clinical trial agreement with the University of Florida to study the combination of emavusertib and pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic melanoma.

  • Curis is responsible for supply of emavusertib.
  • Merck is responsible for supply of pembrolizumab and clinical study costs.
  • Both companies retain 100% of the commercial rights to their respective programs.

This announcement builds on the preclinical findings recently published for this combination by researchers at the University of Florida who, with the University of Chicago, will be the initial clinical investigators for this study.

"We are pleased to advance the novel combination of emavusertib (IRAK4) and pembrolizumab (anti-PD1) in metastatic melanoma," said James Dentzer, President and CEO of Curis. "We are grateful to Merck for their financial support of this study and are excited to begin the exploration of emavusertib's potential as an add-on to standard of care in solid tumor malignancies."

The study, "A Phase 1/2 Study of Oral IRAK-4 Inhibitor CA-4948 in Combination With Pembrolizumab Following Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Patients With Melanoma Brain Metastases" (NCT05669352) is expected to begin enrollment in first half 2024.

About Curis, Inc.

Curis is a biotechnology company focused on the development of emavusertib, an orally available, small molecule IRAK4 inhibitor. Emavusertib is currently undergoing testing in the Phase 1/2 TakeAim Lymphoma study in patients with hematologic malignancies, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and other B cell malignancies in combination with the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib, and as a monotherapy in the Phase 1/2 TakeAim Leukemia study in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, for which it has received Orphan Drug Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Curis, through its 2015 collaboration with Aurigene, has the exclusive license to emavusertib (CA-4948). Curis licensed its rights to Erivedge® to Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, under which they are commercializing Erivedge® for the treatment of advanced basal cell carcinoma. For more information, visit Curis's website at

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, any statements with respect to the investigator-initiated research agreement, the potential developments and benefits of the combination of emavusertib and pembrolizumab in metastatic melanoma, and the potential of emavusertib as an add-on to standard of care in solid tumor malignancies.  Forward-looking statements may contain the words "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "plans," "intends," "seeks," "estimates," "assumes," "predicts," "projects," "targets," "will," "may," "would," "could," "should," "continue," "potential," "focus," "strategy," "mission," or similar expressions. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions and other important factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those indicated by such forward-looking statements. For example, the University of Florida may experience delays and/or failures in initiating its combination study of emavusertib and pembrolizumab, and Curis may experience delays and/or failures in its supply of emavusertib. Curis may experience adverse results, delays and/or failures in its drug development programs and may not be able to successfully advance the development of its drug candidates in the time frames it projects, if at all. Curis's drug candidates may cause unexpected toxicities, fail to demonstrate sufficient safety and efficacy in clinical studies and/or may never achieve the requisite regulatory approvals needed for commercialization. Favorable results seen in preclinical studies and early clinical trials of Curis's drug candidates may not be replicated in later trials. There can be no guarantee that the collaboration agreement with Aurigene will continue for its full term, or the CRADA with NCI, that Curis or its collaborators will each maintain the financial and other resources necessary to continue financing its portion of the research, development and commercialization costs, or that the parties will successfully discover, develop or commercialize drug candidates under the collaboration. Regulatory authorities may determine to delay or restrict Genentech's and/or Roche's ability to continue to commercialize Erivedge in basal cell carcinoma. Competing drugs may be developed that are superior to Erivedge. In connection with its agreement with Oberland Capital, Curis faces risks relating to the transfer and encumbrance of certain royalty and royalty-related payments on commercial sales of Erivedge, including the risk that, in the event of a default by Curis or its wholly-owned subsidiary, Curis could lose all retained rights to future royalty and royalty-related payments, Curis could be required to repurchase such future royalty and royalty-related payments at a price that is a multiple of the payments it has received, and its ability to enter into future arrangements may be inhibited, all of which could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition and stock price. Curis will require substantial additional capital to fund its business. If it is not able to obtain sufficient funding, it will be forced to delay, reduce in scope or eliminate some of its research and development programs, including related clinical trials and operating expenses, potentially delaying the time to market for, or preventing the marketing of, any of its product candidates, which could adversely affect its business prospects and its ability to continue operations, and would have a negative impact on its financial condition and its ability to pursue its business strategies. Curis faces substantial competition. Curis and its collaborators face the risk of potential adverse decisions made by the FDA and other regulatory authorities, investigational review boards, and publication review bodies. Curis may not obtain or maintain necessary patent protection and could become involved in expensive and time-consuming patent litigation and interference proceedings. Unstable market and economic conditions, natural disasters, public health crises, political crises and other events outside of Curis's control could significantly disrupt its operations or the operations of third parties on which Curis depends and could adversely impact Curis's operating results and its ability to raise capital.  Other important factors that may cause or contribute to actual results being materially different from those indicated by forward-looking statements include the factors set forth under the captions "Risk Factor Summary" and "Risk Factors" in our most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q, and the factors that are discussed in other filings that we periodically make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent the views of Curis only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing Curis's views as of any subsequent date. Curis disclaims any intention or obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

Cision View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE Curis, Inc.

Company Codes: NASDAQ-NMS:CRIS

Back to news