THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ImmunGene, Inc. today announced that pre‑clinical studies of its novel anti‑CD20 antibody-interferon alpha fusion protein, IGN002, demonstrated superior anti‑lymphoma activity against numerous cell lines in vitro and against established human xenograft tumors grown in mice. The findings were presented in the Developmental Therapeutics - Immunotherapy poster session on Saturday, June 1, at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago (abstract #3024).
"The unique combination of IGN002's potent anti-proliferative and direct apoptosis effects in addition to antibody‑dependent cellular cytotoxicity and enhanced complement-dependent cytotoxicity has not been seen with any other CD20‑targeted agent," stated John Timmerman, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Division of Hematology‑Oncology and senior author of the study.
The presentation highlights the rapid progress being made in the development of a new class of anti-cancer biotherapeutics which use antibody-interferon alpha fusion technology. This technology was developed by Sherie Morrison, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at UCLA. Part of the pre-clinical research for IGN002 has been done in collaboration with the laboratories of Timmerman and Morrison, who are members of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the UCLA/CalTech Joint Center for Translational Medicine, and the NIH/National Cancer Institute.
"Antibody‑fusion proteins are designed to be inactive at therapeutic doses in the bloodstream while highly potent in targeting and killing cancer cells. We believe this approach is likely to spare healthy cells and may reduce many of the known toxic effects of systemically administered cytokines while greatly enhancing the anti-tumor activity of antibodies," said Iqbal Grewal, PhD, DSc, Chief Scientific Officer at ImmunGene. "We are encouraged by the evidence of antitumor activity of IGN002 observed in pre-clinical studies in rituximab-resistant tumor models and are preparing for an IND filing for IGN002 in the second half of 2014."
IGN002, a fusion molecule of anti-CD20 antibody and interferon alpha, two clinically validated anti‑cancer drugs, is designed to to deliver therapeutically effective doses of interferon alpha to CD20-expressing lymphoma cells to exert direct suppression of tumor cell growth and engage multiple anti-tumor immunologic effector mechanisms, leading to substantially improved efficacy while avoiding the systemic toxicity seen with free interferon.
As announced in May 2013, Valor Biotherapeutics, a joint venture between ImmunGene and Caliber Biotherapeutics, has partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to co-fund the completion of pre-clinical development, manufacturing, and a phase I clinical trial for IGN002.
About ImmunGene, Inc.
ImmunGene is a privately held biotechnology company focused on the development of proprietary antibody-cytokine fusion technology and monoclonal antibody-based therapies to treat cancer, autoimmune disorders, and other diseases. ImmunGene has several programs at various stages of development. ImmunGene is funded by federal government grants including the NIH-SBIR and by private investors including several biotechnology executives. More information can be found at: www.immungene.com.
About Valor Biotherapeutics, LLC
Valor Biotherapeutics, a joint venture between ImmunGene and Caliber Biotherapeutics (www.caliberbio.com), is focused on the clinical development and commercialization of the next generation of monoclonal antibody-based therapeutics to treat cancer. For more information, please visit: www.valorbio.com.
SOURCE ImmunGene, Inc.