BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PureTech Health plc (“PureTech Health” or the “Company”, LSE: PRTC), an advanced, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, today announced the launch of a new immuno-oncology program developing monoclonal antibodies to target newly discovered immunosuppressive mechanisms in pancreatic cancer and other solid tumors.
The approach is based on the work of Dr. George Miller, Director of S. Arthur Localio Laboratories and Director of the Cancer Immunology Program at NYU School of Medicine. Part of the body of data supporting this approach was published recently in Nature Medicine and builds upon his work previously published in Cell.
“Most solid, malignant tumors establish an immunosuppressive environment to ward off the body’s natural defenses. Dr. Miller’s work in pancreatic ductal carcinoma has revealed that inflammatory processes drive the immunosuppression through certain gamma delta T cells and macrophages,” said Dr. Joseph Bolen, Chief Scientific Officer of PureTech Health. “Our novel approach builds on this finding and selectively disrupts the immunosuppression to potentially have a therapeutic effect on cancer.”
This technology, exclusively licensed from the NYU School of Medicine, is being developed in a new subsidiary of PureTech Health called Nybo Therapeutics. Nybo builds on PureTech's strength in immunology and joins PureTech’s advanced pipeline of immunology and T cell biology programs that includes a Phase IIB immunosenescence program, microbiome-based T cell mediated therapies, and CAR-T therapies.
“Pancreatic cancer is the only major cancer with a five-year survival rate in the single digits, and there has been far too little progress towards meaningful treatments,” said Dr. Diane Simeone, Director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at NYU School of Medicine and a member of Nybo’s Scientific Advisory Board. “Novel therapeutic approaches are important to pursue, and I look forward to helping advance this promising technology.”
Dr. Miller commented on this announcement, “I am excited to translate our findings into first-in-class therapies for patients who desperately need new treatment options. Our work on immunosuppressive mechanisms in pancreatic cancer has shed light on new therapeutic approaches that form the foundation for Nybo, and we look forward to a great partnership with PureTech Health with whom to advance these findings.”
PureTech Health has gathered a group of leading expert collaborators and advisors around this platform, including:
Erin Adams, Ph.D., is the Joseph Regenstein Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and on the Committees of Immunology and Cancer Biology at the University of Chicago. Dr. Adams' research is focused on understanding how events at the molecular level allow the immune system to differentiate between self and non-self with particular attention given to nonconventional T cell recognition, such as that of gamma delta T cells. The scientific approach she undertakes to tackle these questions spans multiple levels including genetics, protein biochemistry, structure, biophysics, function and cell biology and imaging. Dr. Adams is one of the pioneer researchers discovering how gamma delta T cells recognize antigens and how this recognition process regulates their activity in various tissues in which they reside.
Elizabeth Jaffee, M.D., currently serves as Deputy Director for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Associate Director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy; Associate Director for Translational Research, Co-Director of Gastrointestinal cancer and diseases program, and Co-Director of the Skip Viragh Center for Pancreatic Cancer Clinical Research and Patient Care. Dr. Jaffee is chair and member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, and served as co-chair of the NCI Blue Ribbon Panel for the National Moonshot Initiative. Dr. Jaffee is an active member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and has just been named President-Elect of AACR (2017-2018). She will assume the presidency in April, 2018.
Steven Leach, M.D., is the Director of the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research of Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Prior to this, Dr. Leach served as Professor of Surgery, Oncology and Cell Biology, and the Paul K. Neumann Professor in Pancreatic Cancer at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Dr. Leach received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees. He then pursued his MD degree at Emory University, followed by postdoctoral training at Yale University and at M.D. Anderson. Dr. Leach is also the current Chair of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board.
George Miller, M.D., is the Director of S. Arthur Localio Laboratories, vice chair for research in NYU, Langone’s Department of Surgery and the leader of Perlmutter Cancer Center’s Immunology Program, as well as the director of the only training program in the country in gastrointestinal oncology that is funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to his laboratory research, Dr. Miller is a highly experienced pancreatic and hepatobiliary surgeon with an extensive background in the evaluation and treatment of pancreatic tumors, as well as liver, bile duct cancers.
Diane M. Simeone, M.D., is currently the director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at the NYU School of Medicine and the Associate Director of Translational Research, Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU Langone Medical Center. She is the chair-elect of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Board of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, one of the country's leading organizations advancing the battle against the disease through research funding, community engagement and government advocacy. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, serves on the National Cancer Institute's Pancreatic Cancer Task Force, and previously was president of the Society of University Surgeons and the American Pancreatic Association.
“We will be exploring both pancreatic cancer and other solid tumor types such as colorectal cancer. In addition to monotherapy, Dr. Miller’s work suggests that this approach may enhance the effect of checkpoint inhibitors that have historically not worked in pancreatic cancer opening up the possibility of combination therapy,” commented Dr. Aleksandra Filipovic, Therapeutic Lead for Oncology at PureTech.
The underlying research described above has been supported by the NYU School of Medicine’s drug discovery accelerator, the Office of Therapeutics Alliances.
About NYU Office of Therapeutics Alliances and Office of Industrial
The NYU Office of Therapeutics Alliances (OTA) was created in 2013 to accelerate and de-risk drug discovery projects developed at NYU School of Medicine towards partnerships with investors, biopharma, and non-profits. The NYU Office of Industrial Liaison (OIL) promotes the commercial development of NYU discoveries and actively seeks commercial partners for licensing and research collaborations. Over the past ten years NYU has ranked first among all universities in income from technology licensing. For more information, please visit http://www.nyulmc.org/ota and http://oil.med.nyu.edu/.
About Nybo Therapeutics
Nybo Therapeutics, a subsidiary of PureTech Health (LSE: PRTC), is developing first-in-class immuno-oncology programs dedicated to the targeting of immune-suppressive gamma delta T cells and other related mechanisms in pancreatic cancer and other solid tumors. It aims to address the great unmet need in malignancies with dismal prognoses that derive little benefit from current standards of care.
PureTech Health plc (PRTC.L) owns approximately 93.5% of the company on a diluted basis as of 11 April 2017. This calculation includes issued and outstanding shares as well as options to purchase shares and written commitments to issue shares or options, but excludes unallocated shares authorized to be issued pursuant to equity incentive plans.
About PureTech Health
PureTech Health (PureTech Health plc, PRTC.L) is an advanced, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical Company developing novel medicines that modulate the adaptive human systems. PureTech’s therapies target the dysfunctions in the immune, nervous, and gastro-intestinal systems by addressing the underlying pathophysiology of disease from a systems perspective rather than through a single receptor or pathway. The Company is advancing a rich pipeline that includes multiple human proof-of-concept studies and pivotal or registration studies expected to read out over the next 12-18 months. PureTech Health’s growing research and development pipeline has been developed in collaboration with some of the world’s leading scientific experts, who along with PureTech's experienced team and a stellar Board identify, analyses and advance very selectively the opportunities the Company believes hold the most promise for patients. This experienced and engaged team places PureTech Health at the forefront of ground-breaking science and technological innovation and leads the Company between and beyond existing disciplines. For more information, visit www.puretechhealth.com or connect with us on Twitter @puretechh.
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