ImmunOs’ approach is based on insights into autoimmune diseases that are driven by overshooting immune responses. Transferring this mechanism to cancer patients, which are in need of a targeted immune system activation, results in significant changes in the tumor microenvironment and the transformation of a “cold” to a “hot” tumor that can be eliminated by the immune system.
ImmunOs´ oncology product candidates target several key LILRB receptors via a single molecule – a major differentiation from competitor compounds, which usually only target a single receptor (as antibodies do). Thereby, ImmunOs´ approach can trigger a synergistic response of immune cells leading to anti-tumor responses.
Current approaches in cancer immunotherapy focus mainly on stimulating the adaptive immune system and, more specifically, cytotoxic T cells, either by generating new T cells through vaccines, CAR-T cell therapies, or by blocking immunosuppressive signals that prevent T cells from eliminating cancer cells (checkpoint inhibitors).
Cancer immunotherapy has been a breakthrough in the treatment of tumors. However, efficacy is limited to specific tumor types and available approaches benefit only a subset of patients (5 – 40% responders only). To provide for better results of these first-generation immunotherapies, tumor therapy is now exploring combination therapies that gradually improve outcome.
The evolving science has revealed the reasons for the mixed success. Tumors create a microenvironment, i.e. the area directly surrounding them, that blocks the ability of the immune system to do its job. Scientists believe that therapies capable of remodeling the tumor microenvironment will make the tumor much more vulnerable to immunotherapy. This approach holds the promise of better treatment outcomes and applicability to a larger patient population.
The key receptors targeted by ImmunOs´ immunotherapeutics are called LILRB (leukocyte immunoglobulin-like) receptors. LILRB receptors control inflammatory responses and cytotoxicity to help focus the immune response and limit autoreactivity. Some transduce a negative signal to immune cells such as macrophages, MDSCs, T cells, and NK cells and thereby inhibit stimulation of an immune response. Tumors exploit this mechanism, e.g. by expressing inhibitory LILRB receptors to suppress the immune system. Therefore, LILRB receptors are important targets in cancer immunotherapy.
The Company’s multi-targeting approach is remodeling the tumor microenvironment (TME) – a key prerequisite for immunotherapy to work. This remodeling of the TME occurs in different ways:
As a result, the Company´s molecules are suited as a monotherapy or in combination therapy to make the environment more amenable to immunotherapy and have demonstrated strong anti-tumor responses in multiple cancer indications in combination with checkpoint inhibitors such as CTLA-4, PD-1, PD-L1, CD47, SIRPα and agonist antibodies such as 4-1BB.
ImmunOs Therapeutics believes that its novel family class of immunomodulators, which stimulate the immune system and increase the efficacy of both checkpoint inhibitors (CTLA-4, PD-1, PD-L1, CD47, SIRPα) and co-stimulatory agonists (e.g. 4-1BB) in combination therapies will spearhead the next wave of personalized treatments to support patients with a diverse set of cancer indications.