Our research and development activities in the immuno-oncology area are focused on employing our antibody screening methodology against a number of targets demonstrated to be involved in cancer development and progression via negative regulation of the immune system, such as immune checkpoints found on immune cells.
The checkpoint receptors bind a diverse range of ligands found on tumor cells or antigen presenting cells, the most notable example being the immune cell receptor PD-1 and its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2. Monoclonal antibodies against these immune checkpoints have been shown to provide significant and long-term clinical benefit in an important minority of patients with melanoma and lung, colorectal and renal cancers.
By the end of 2017, one Phase 1 trial with Sym021 had been initiated under an agreement with Shire.
Clinical development of Sym021
The primary purpose of this Phase 1 trial is to determine if Sym021 is safe and tolerable for patients with locally advanced/ unresectable or metastatic solid tumor malignancies or lymphomas that are refractory to available therapy or for which no standard therapy is available.
Identifying I/O targets
We have generated antibodies against a whole panel of immuno-oncology targets with the aim of identifying novel proprietary mAbs and mAb mixtures. Our goal is to identify and develop drug candidates that can provide therapeutic options for patients whose tumors fail to respond or become resistant to first generation immuno-oncology drugs, such as anti-PD-1, anti-PD-L1 and/or anti-CTLA-4 antibodies.