IMMUNOTHERAPY – A NOVEL APPROACH IN ARSENAL OF ANTI-CANCER TREATMENT OPTIONS
Immune cells are constantly patrolling body in search for foreign invaders or internal defective systems to eliminate potential danger. The immune system wins this battle every day. However, sometimes human own abnormal cells grow in a stealth mode avoiding this immune surveillance and become malignancies.
Immuno-Oncology helps to treat existing cancers by strengthening body’s natural defenses against cancer and awakening, education of immune system or removal of inhibitory mechanisms. This new strategy has completely changed the landscape becoming a clinically validated treatment for multiple cancers. Immunotherapy not only gives a real promise for cure from cancer, but also potential to gain a lifetime of protection for. Although impressive results are demonstrated by checkpoint inhibitors relatively small fraction of patients obtain clinical benefit. New immunotherapies may fulfill this urgent unmet medical need and increase patient population responding to treatment.
Selvita’s Immuno-Oncology Platform projects aim to provide novel immunotherapies stimulating natural pathogen defense mechanisms of human immune system to recognize, attack and fight cancer. This approach of viral mimicry holds promise to unmask tumors that remained invisible to immune cells or escaped immune surveillance.
Selvita’s Immuno-Oncology Platform projects focus on how to turn unresponsive “cold” tumors into “hot” tumors which can respond to immunotherapy. The intention is to empower immune system with small molecule activators training the immune system to fight cancer and sensitize human tumor cells to immune attack. We intend to combine with other immunotherapies across the oncology landscape to increase the benefits to patients.
- STING Pathway Agonists
Our leading program is focused on STING pathway agonists. STING protein is one of the major players in innate immune activation being a potent trigger of type I interferon (IFN) and pro-inflammatory cytokines. STING agonists facilitate cancer antigen recognition specific to individual patient and his own tumor giving a hope for highly personalized immunotherapy. Additionally, STING agonists promote tumor infiltration by CD8+ T cells, immune system mobilization and long-term memory. The agents kill malignant cells and simultaneously convert them into a cancer-specific therapeutic vaccine.
Currently STING pathway agonist program is at hit-to-lead stage. Selvita’s strategy involves:
- discovery of STING pathway agonists of unique chemical structure (non-macrocyclic, non-nucleotide with fine-tunable ADME properties to overcome limitations of current known STING agonist)
- compounds activity in STING-dependent signalling in multiple models (cancer cell lines, human primary cells for several STING haplotypes) to cover wide patient population
- good DMPK properties to allow both IT and other routes of administration to cover wide tumor spectrum (local lesions and distant metastases).
- Other Projects
Selvita investigates effective but unexploited targets from TCR activation pathways and cellular nucleic acid sensors. Several undisclosed projects with first-in-class potential is at discovery phase.