PureTech Health plc (LSE: PRTC) (“PureTech” or the “Company”), a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing highly differentiated medicines for devastating diseases, today shared new data establishing galectin-9 as a novel target for cancer immunotherapy and providing compelling evidence that therapies targeting galectin-9 may enable the immune system to attack an array of solid tumors. The data were shared in a scientific poster presented at the June session of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting.
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PureTech presented new data at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting providing compelling evidence that therapies targeting galectin-9 may impede tumor growth through immune rescue in an array of solid tumors. The research also establishes galectin-9 as an important biomarker for patient stratification. These data support PureTech’s wholly-owned immuno-oncology product candidate LYT-200, a first-in-class, fully human monoclonal antibody targeting galectin-9. (Graphic: Business Wire)
PureTech is developing a first-in-class, fully human monoclonal antibody targeting galectin-9. The product candidate, LYT-200, is expected to enter a first-in-human, Phase 1a/1b study in 2020 in hard-to-treat cancers, including pancreatic, cholangiocarcinoma and certain types of colorectal and liver cancers, which remain insufficiently responsive or resistant to currently approved checkpoint inhibitors. PureTech has previously presented data demonstrating LYT-200’s efficacy in reducing tumor growth and reactivating human effector T cells in preclinical, patient-derived tumor culture models.
“These new data clearly establish the importance of galectin-9 as a therapeutic target, given that its high expression across tumor types correlates with poor patient outcomes. Our analysis of more than 1,000 samples from human breast cancer tumors found that high levels of galectin-9 are associated with shorter time to disease relapse as well as with a tumor microenvironment that lacks cytotoxic CD8+ T cells that would otherwise be able to attack the tumor,” said Joseph Bolen, PhD, chief scientific officer at PureTech. “Our first-in-class monoclonal antibody, LYT-200, is designed to target and inhibit galectin-9 and thereby reverse this suppression of the immune system to boost its ability to destroy tumors. We’re proud to be presenting this research at AACR and look forward to advancing LYT-200 into the clinic later this year, as well as to progressing our work on galectin-9 as a biomarker.”
The AACR poster details a study undertaken by PureTech and its academic collaborators to evaluate the importance of galectin-9 expression in the tissues of cancer patients. The study is believed to include the largest cohort of breast cancer patient samples ever evaluated in this context, as well as robust cohorts of pancreatic and cholangiocarcinoma cases, and it found high expression of galectin-9 across all of these tumor types. Importantly, the highest levels of galectin-9 correlated with shorter time to disease relapse and poor survival. Strong galectin-9 expression was observed on the membranes of tumors with poor prognosis, which indicates this target is attractive for an antibody therapeutic such as LYT-200. In breast cancer, galectin-9 expression was associated with tumors showing worse pathological features, such as high tumor grade and estrogen receptor negativity, as well as features characteristic of an immunosuppressed tumor microenvironment, including the absence of CD8+ T cells. Collectively, these data suggest that galectin-9 could be significant both as a therapeutic target for a range of cancers and as a cancer biomarker, which PureTech intends to explore further for patient stratification.
About PureTech Health
PureTech is a clinical-stage biotherapeutics company dedicated to discovering, developing and commercializing highly differentiated medicines for devastating diseases, including intractable cancers, lymphatic and gastrointestinal diseases, central nervous system disorders and inflammatory and immunological diseases, among others. The Company has created a broad and deep pipeline through the expertise of its experienced research and development team and its extensive network of scientists, clinicians and industry leaders. This pipeline, which is being advanced both internally and through PureTech’s Founded Entities, is comprised of 24 products and product candidates, including two that have been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All of the underlying programs and platforms that resulted in this pipeline of product candidates were initially identified or discovered and then advanced by the PureTech team through key validation points based on the Company’s unique insights into the biology of the brain, immune and gut, or BIG, systems and the interface between those systems, referred to as the BIG Axis.
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