Argos obtains option to license PD1 checkpoint inhibitors
DURHAM, N.C.—Argos Therapeutics Inc., an immuno-oncology company focused on the development and commercialization of individualized immunotherapies based on the Arcelis precision immunotherapy technology platform, recently announced that it had entered into an option agreement with Pharmstandard International S.A. and Actigen Ltd. under which the company has an option to license a group of fully human anti-PD1 monoclonal antibodies (PD1 checkpoint inhibitors) and related technology.
Results of a preclinical study of a murine analogue of Rocapuldencel-T (Roca-T), the company’s investigational dendritic cell therapy for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), were recently presented at the ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium. The study looked at various combinations with a murine PD1 monoclonal antibody (anti-mPD1) and sunitinib in a mouse model of renal cell carcinoma. In this model, murine dendritic cell precursors were processed in a similar manner to that by which human monocytes are processed to manufacture Roca-T. Multiple combination dosing strategies were tested, all of which included treatment with sunitinib. Anti-mPD1 was tested both with administration two days following tumor inoculation (therapeutic administration) and with administration six days prior to tumor inoculation (prophylactic administration).
Of note, histologic evaluation in these studies revealed that murine dendritic cells with similar properties to Roca-T resulted in recruitment and migration of lymphocytes into the tumor microenvironment and an increase in CD8+CD28+CD45RA-memory T cells. An increase in this same type of memory T cell after seven doses of Roca-T, as measured in blood samples, correlated with longer survival in the company’s Phase 3 ADAPT clinical trial of Roca-T in mRCC patients. These findings suggest that the mechanism of action of the murine analogue of Roca-T in this model is similar to that of Roca-T in man.
“Data from this study support the rationale for combining dendritic cell therapy with a PD1 checkpoint inhibitor in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma,” noted Charles Nicolette, chief scientific officer of Argos Therapeutics. “These data also demonstrate the importance of the administration sequence for active immunotherapy with a murine analogue of Roca-T and a PD1 checkpoint inhibitor, along with sunitinib, and suggest that the cellular immune response must be initiated and established prior to administration of anti-PD1 and sunitinib in order to achieve synergy in this murine model of mRCC.”
Jeff Abbey, president and CEO of Argos Therapeutics, added: “We are pleased to have secured an option to license a group of fully human PD1 antibodies from Pharmstandard and Actigen. Provided sufficient funding is available, we expect to exercise this option and undertake the necessary preclinical studies in order to initiate clinical development of Roca-T in combination with a PD1 antibody.”