TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Northern Biologics Inc., a developer of first-in-class immuno-oncology products, today announced that its lead asset, MSC-1, is being featured at key scientific meetings in April and May. Collectively, these data further elucidate MSC-1’s mechanism of action and define its clinical strategy as it nears initiation of a Phase I trial to treat advanced relapsed or refractory solid tumors.
MSC-1 is a humanized antibody against a soluble cytokine called LIF (see “About LIF” below). LIF plays a multi-faceted role in cancer, and as a result inhibiting the target opens up two therapeutic avenues: reversal of tumor immunosuppression and blockade of tumor growth via inhibition of cancer initiating cells (CICs).
At the April 14-18 American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting, Northern Biologics is reporting that MSC-1 decreased tumor growth in multiple mouse tumor models and drove reprogramming of the tumor microenvironment (TME) through differentiation of immunosuppressive macrophages and modulation of other immune cell types. These findings form the basis of a robust therapeutic hypothesis, whereby MSC-1 treatment may lead to clinical activity in multiple cancers.
“The potential of LIF as a target in cancer and the therapeutic potential of MSC-1 are generating significant interest in the scientific and clinical communities,” said Philip Vickers, CEO of Northern Biologics.
Also, at AACR, Northern Biologics is highlighting new key in vivo data combining MSC-1 and a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor that support using MSC-1 in combination therapy to inhibit tumor growth in the clinic.
“We look forward to presenting data this spring on the mechanistic rationale for developing a first-in-class anti-LIF therapy for cancer,” said Joan Seoane, a co-founder of Northern Biologics who is a professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and Vall d’Hebron University Hospital’s Institute of Oncology (VHIO).
Dr. Seoane also is the scientific organizer of a LIF-focused meeting that is part of the European Association for Cancer Research’s conference series. The May 28-29 meeting in Barcelona will cover recent advances in the field of LIF from the basic science to clinical studies. Dr. Jose Baselga (MSKCC), Dr. Tony Hunter (Salk Institute) and Dr. Josep Tabernero (VHIO) are among the distinguished speakers. At that meeting, Northern Biologics also will report recent data for MSC-1 related to efficacy, pharmacology and emerging biomarker strategy.
“It is very gratifying to see such an outstanding list of speakers at the LIF Conference. This further excites us as we ramp up clinical studies at leading cancer centers around the world,” said Dr. Vickers.
LIF, or leukemia inhibitory factor, is an exciting emerging target in the immuno-oncology space. Northern Co-Founder Joan Seoane first elucidated a role for the cytokine in cancer in a seminal 2009 publication in Cancer Cell. Since that time, several independent labs have demonstrated the role of LIF in many cancers. LIF is hypothesized to contribute to tumor growth and progression by acting on multiple aspects of cancer biology, including immunosuppression of the tumor microenvironment (TME), and is a key regulator of cancer initiating cells (CICs), which are thought to underpin tumor growth, metastasis and resistance to therapy.
About Northern Biologics
Northern Biologics was launched in June 2014 by venture capital firm Versant Ventures, in partnership with the University of Toronto and University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Headquartered in the MaRS Discovery District of Toronto, the company is developing a portfolio of antibody-based therapeutics based on relevant targets in the tumor microenvironment. Learn more at northernbiologics.com.