LEXINGTON, Mass., June 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- A study published in Cancer Cell reports on a novel discovery made by Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN) that may enhance the immune activity of cancer fighting antibodies, including those targeting CTLA-4. Agenus has applied this discovery to its proprietary next generation anti-CTLA-4 antibody (AGEN1181) on track for IND filing in 2H2018.
The pre-clinical study reports on a unique mechanism discovered by Agenus, that can significantly improve the biological and immunological activity of certain cancer fighting antibodies, such as those targeting CTLA-4 and TIGIT. These findings provide the foundation for developing "next generation" (next-gen) antibodies designed to improve performance and expand clinical benefit. Agenus has already employed this novel discovery to make next-gen monospecific and bispecific antibodies that are on target for IND filings this year and early next year.
"We have discovered a new mechanism involving a key portion of antibodies that modulates biological function and cancer fighting abilities," said Dr. Jeremy Waight, Principal Scientist at Agenus and lead author of the study. "Based on our discovery, we can modify this region, known as the Fc region, to significantly improve an antibody's biological activity, by improving its immunological activity. We have already applied this discovery to our next generation anti-CTLA-4 antibody as well as other monospecific and bispecific antibodies in our pre-clinical pipeline and observed dramatic improvement in immune responses and anti-tumor activity."
Specifically, the research team demonstrated that a change in the Fc region can significantly improve the cross-talk between two immune cell types, such as antigen presenting cells (APCs) and T cells. This modification in the Fc region increases the duration and strength of interaction between the immune cells. In cancer immunotherapy, such an interaction is necessary to mount a potent immune response against cancer.
"These findings are at the core of our next-generation antibody programs, which have moved at an incredible speed from the drawing boards to being clinic ready in about 15 months, a testament to our strategy built on innovation and speed," said Alex Duncan, PhD, Chief Technology Officer and Head of Research. "These findings provide a foundation for developing best-in-class antibodies optimized to improve response rates and durability of response for patients with cancer."
Agenus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body's immune system to fight cancer. The Company's vision is to expand the patient populations benefiting from cancer immunotherapy by pursuing a number of combination approaches that leverage a broad repertoire of antibody therapeutics and proprietary cancer vaccine platforms. The Company is equipped with a suite of antibody discovery platforms and a state-of-the-art GMP manufacturing facility with the capacity to support early phase clinical programs. Agenus is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit www.agenusbio.com; information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted on our website.
Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the Company's planned IND filings and the enhanced function of certain antibodies in the Company's pipeline. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the factors described under the Risk Factors section of our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Agenus cautions investors not to place considerable reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Agenus undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements, other than to the extent required by law. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.