Navrogen Establishes Research Collaboration with The National Cancer Institute to Test Mesothelin-Targeting Therapies for Cancers Affected by Humoral Immuno-Oncology Factors
Cheyney, PA, January 11, 2021 — Navrogen, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company specialized in developing therapies for cancer and immune-related disorders, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, have established a research collaboration aimed at testing mesothelin-targeting therapies for the treatment of cancers where humoral immunity is suppressed.
Mesothelin is a cell surface protein over-expressed on various malignancies, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Certain therapeutic antibodies that use humoral immune function to kill cancer cells as well as antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) targeting mesothelin are negatively affected by Humoral Immuno-Oncology (HIO) factors that are produced in the tumor microenvironment. To overcome this mechanism of HIO suppression, Navrogen has employed its proprietary HIO factor screening and block-removed immunoglobulin technology (BRITE) to engineer HIO refractory mesothelin-targeting agents.
The collaboration with the Thoracic and GI Malignancies Branch at NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, led by Raffit Hassan, M.D., is a joint effort to analyze ADCs for in vivo efficacy against human mesothelioma models developed by the Hassan laboratory. A major focus of the Hassan laboratory is developing mesothelin-targeted agents for treating cancer to include the development of mesothelioma patient-derived xenografts that mimic the molecular characteristics of patient tumors. Navrogen and NCI will combine their expertise and experimental resources to enable the comprehensive characterization of mesothelin targeting ADCs as agents for future human studies against mesothelin-expressing cancers including mesothelioma.
“We have engineered a HIO-refractory anti-mesothelin ADC (NAV-001) that will be tested in collaboration with NCI researchers by employing their patient-derived tumor models that are clinically relevant to mesothelioma and lung cancer,” commented Dr. Luigi Grasso, Navrogen’s Chief Scientific Officer. “Results of these studies will aid in determining optimal dosing and tumor subtypes for Navrogen to pursue clinically”.
About NavrogenTM Inc.
Navrogen is a biotechnology company focused on the discovery of tumor produced Humoral Immuno-Oncology (HIO) factors that are associated with cancer prognosis and therapeutic response of immune-mediated anti-cancer therapies. The company’s mission is to develop diagnostic assays that can identify patients whose tumors produce HIO factors to advise physicians on therapeutic options as well as develop first-in-class agents that can overcome the immunosuppressive effects of a HIO factor by employing its proprietary screening and engineering technologies.
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