First-in-class drugs preventing cancer immune evasion.
iOmx Therapeutics focuses on the development of first-in-class cancer therapeutics addressing novel immune checkpoint modulators on tumor cells. By systematically screening human tumor cells, the Company has already identified a number of novel targets and analyzed their mode of action.
The Company was founded on the successful concept of cancer immune-checkpoint therapy, which works by breaking down the inherent resistance mechanisms of tumors against immune attack. Immune resistance of tumors is often mediated by cell surface molecules that stimulate immune-inhibitory receptors on T cells. Reactivating the host immune response by neutralizing these negative interactions is the idea behind cancer immune-checkpoint therapy.
The clinical successes of anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD1/PD-L1 immune-checkpoint inhibitors have been transformative in certain tumor indications. However, as promising as they are to date, they do not benefit a large proportion of patients and are only regarded as the beginning of cancer immunotherapy.
iOmx’s founders have developed a systematic, high-throughput genetic screening approach, called iOTarg, that allows a comprehensive identification of checkpoint molecules, i.e. ligands on human cancer cells that inhibit T cell-mediated tumor cell killing. To date, this screening technology has been applied to tumor cells derived from multiple tumor entities and is continuously expanding. Several novel targets have been identified and validated, using clinical tumor samples and tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs). Many of them exhibit stronger inhibition of T cell killing than PD-L1 in classical assays, with interesting and novel mode of actions.
Overall, iOTarg, iOmx's proprietary immune-checkpoint target discovery platform, points the way to next generation immunotherapy approaches which are designed to increase the clinical impact of immune-checkpoint therapies.