Collaboration will explore clinical trials with IMM-101, in combination with other treatments, in difficult to treat cancers, with a particular focus on epithelial cancers such as pancreatic cancer and sarcoma
Uxbridge, UK and Lisbon, Portugal – 3 August 2020 – Immodulon, the immuno-oncology company, and the Champalimaud Foundation, a private, non-profit, research organisation in Lisbon, Portugal, today announce research intended to examine the potential use of IMM-101, in combination with other treatments, to achieve clinically favourable, anti-tumour directed cellular immune responses in advanced cancers including, but not limited to, pancreatic cancer, glioblastoma and sarcoma. The first studies are expected to commence in the second half of 2020.
Dr. Jaap Kampinga, Chief Executive Officer of Immodulon, commented: “We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the Champalimaud Foundation. There is a clear unmet medical need for effective treatments against these devastating cancers. Despite the advent of immune checkpoint inhibitors, pancreatic cancer and sarcomas remain exceedingly challenging to treat, and novel combination treatments will be required to make progress in these cancers. The Champalimaud Foundation, as a centre of excellence, is well suited to researching such treatment regimens and to carry out these clinical studies. We are proud that the Champalimaud Foundation has selected IMM-101 as a backbone immunotherapy to develop novel personalised treatments, and we look forward to working further with this fantastic organisation.”
Dr. Markus Maeurer, heading the Immunotherapy/Immunosurgery programme, noted: “I am glad to be working together with the excellent Immodulon team. The quality and quantity of cellular immune responses in the biological therapy of cancer is key to achieving clinically relevant immune responses. Anti-cancer directed immune responses may exist in patients with cancer, yet they may become ineffective: they need to be ‘re-wired’. Newly elicited immune responses that specifically target cancer cells also need to have a certain quality and to be able to enter into the tumour tissue in order to be effective. Immodulon’s IMM-101 may help to bring us closer to achieve these goals based on available preclinical and clinical IMM-101 data and aid to design safe and effective therapies for patients with cancer, particularly for patients with ‘difficult-to-treat-cancers’, such as pancreatic cancer. We hope – by implementing IMM-101 in our strategies – to be able to elicit ‘smarter’ immune responses that are more effective in eradicating cancer cells and in establishing long-term, protective immune memory.”
‘Re-wiring’ immune responses – Personalised therapies for patients with cancer aim to direct immune cells against mutations, changes in the DNA, that are exclusively present in cancer cells, but not in healthy cells. If immune cells can be sufficiently activated and ‘trained’ to recognise these mutations, they may eliminate cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. These mutations, alterations in the genetic code, may be different for each individual patient.
Activation of immune cells needs an ‘alarm’ signal that activates and stimulates them to multiply. IMM-101 may help to provide this signal. However, this may not be sufficient in order to achieve a
relevant clinical effect: immune cells recognising cancer cells need to have a certain quality and produce molecules that are able to fight off and ultimately eradicate cancer cells. Nevertheless, this often is not possible for immune cells from patients with cancer: they have a reduced ‘fitness’, they are exhausted and are not able to eliminate cancer cells effectively.
IMM-101 may help to change this non-productive behaviour of the immune system, it may aid to ‘un-learn’ non-effective response patterns and correct immune exhaustion. Therefore, we hope that IMM-101 helps to correct several immune mechanisms that failed in patients with cancer and leads to activation of immune cells that target specifically cancer cells, correct immune exhaustion and increase ‘fitness’ in immune cells in order to fight against cancer more effectively.
About Immodulon Therapeutics
Immodulon Therapeutics Limited (London, UK) is a privately-owned clinical-stage immuno-oncology company primarily focused on the development of safe, effective and novel treatments for cancer. Its lead drug candidate, IMM-101, has shown promise in early clinical trials, demonstrating potential for the platform. It contains heat-killed whole cell Mycobacterium obuense which activates dendritic cells and other cells of the innate immune system by several mechanisms, including via Toll-like receptors. Its
mechanism of action should not only make this product applicable to a range of cancers but, in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors and other standard-of care treatments, it is expected to enhance their efficacy without increasing the safety burden for the patient.
About Champalimaud Foundation
The Champalimaud Foundation focuses on cutting-edge research and strives to stimulate new discoveries and knowledge to improve health and well-being of people around the world. The Foundation supports research activities in the fields of neuroscience and oncology, hosts competitive research programmes and provides excellent clinical care in oncology with a particular focus on patients with pancreatic cancer. The fight against blindness is supported through a focused outreach programme and the foundation provides the highest prize in cancer research given annually to clinically relevant high-ranking research. The Champalimaud Foundation mission is to
bring biologically and clinically relevant research to patients, to design and execute with strong international partners clinical protocols for patients with cancer. The Champalimaud Foundation works to improve the health and well-being of humanity by pro-actively searching for solutions which can alleviate the burden of disease in individuals and in society as a whole. Please visit the Champalimaud Foundation at https://fchampalimaud.org
Disclaimer: IMM-101, alone or in combination with other treatments or agents, has not yet been approved by the Champalimaud Foundation Ethics Committee, nor by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the EMEA, the Infarmed, or any other regulatory authority, for the use in the aforementioned trials under planning. Safety and efficacy have not been established for this agent in the described clinical setting, nor for the treatment of patients living with epithelial cancer.
Dr. Jaap Kampinga, CEO
T: +44 (0)20 3137 6346
FTI Consulting Simon Conway / George Kendrick
T: +44 (0) 20 3727 1000
Dr. Markus Maeurer, MD
Dr. Vitor Cunha