EXTON, PA — Immunome, Inc. (Nasdaq: IMNM), a biopharmaceutical company utilizing a proprietary human memory B cell platform to discover and develop first-in-class antibody therapeutics, announced that it advanced its first oncology program into IND-enabling studies and anticipates filing an IND in the second half of 2021.
The IL-38 target was identified through the interrogation of a B cell sample from a head and neck cancer patient using the Immunome discovery engine. IL-38 appears to function as a novel innate immune checkpoint, secreted by tumors to inhibit myeloid cell activation and dampen innate anti-tumor immunity. A correlation between high IL-38 expression and poor clinical outcomes in lung cancer was noted in a recent published study (Takada et al., PLoS One, 2018).
Purnanand Sarma, PhD, CEO of Immunome, said, “We are very excited to advance our lead oncology program targeting IL-38, a novel innate immune checkpoint that appears to inhibit infiltration and pro-inflammatory activity of innate immune cells. Our analysis of publicly available data (The Cancer Genome Atlas) further confirms that IL-38 is over-expressed in certain tumors with high unmet clinical need, such as carcinomas of the head, neck and lung and that its expression appears to be correlated to reduced infiltration of innate immune cells.”
Dr. Anthony Tolcher, MD, FRCPC, medical oncologist and co-founder of NEXT Oncology as well as a member of Immunome’s Scientifc Advisory Board, said, “Agents targeting the innate immune system, specifically myeloid biology, represent novel approaches in the treatment of solid tumors. Immunome’s target, IL-38, appears to play a key role in keeping the tumor microenvironment immunologically unresponsive, and reversing this dampened immunity may lead to favorable treatment modalities, especially in high unmet medical need diseases where it is overexpressed. I am excited to see this agent moving into IND-enabling studies and head towards the clinic.”
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