Israeli pharma company Compugen has dosed the first patient in the phase 1 clinical trial which is evaluating the company’s cancer immunotherapy antibody COM701 in patients with advanced solid tumors.
COM701 has been designed to target the PVRIG gene, which according to the Israeli pharma company is a novel immune checkpoint target it had identified using its computational discovery capabilities.
According to Compugen, the humanized hybridoma antibody binds with PVRIG and prevents its interaction with the PVRL2 ligand.
The Israeli pharma company says that this mechanism of COM701 had shown potent, reproducible enhancement of T cell activation, which is on par with the desired mechanism of action of triggering T cells in the tumor microenvironment to create anti-tumor immune responses.
Apart from that, the Compugen cancer immunotherapy antibody when combined with antagonist anti-PD-1 antibodies had shown synergistic effects on human T cell stimulation, thereby suggesting the potential of the combinations to further improve immune response against tumors.
Henry Adewoye – Chief Medical Officer of Compugen, commenting on the cancer immunotherapy COM701 phase 1 trial, said: “COM701 is a promising and differentiated asset in the crowded landscape of immuno-oncology trials.
“Our clinical and biomarker strategy for testing COM701 is premised on a robust biological rationale which suggests that targeting PVRIG may be necessary to induce a sufficient anti-tumor immune response in cancer patient subpopulations where both the PVRIG and TIGIT pathways are operative, thereby addressing the high unmet need of relapsed and refractory disease following treatment with existing immunotherapies.”
The phase 1 open-label clinical trial for COM701 will evaluate the safety and tolerability of administering escalating doses of the Compugen cancer immunotherapy as monotherapy and also as combination treatment with a PD-1 inhibitor.
In addition to that, the early-stage trial will assess evidence of preliminary antitumor activity of COM701 as a monotherapy and also in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor in patients with certain tumor types such as non-small cell lung cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer and breast cancer.
Commenting on the cancer immunotherapy COM701 phase 1 trial, Anat Cohen-Dayag – Compugen President and CEO, said: “Dosing the first patient with COM701, a first-in-class drug opportunity targeting a novel immune checkpoint we identified with our computational predictive platform, is a landmark event for us. We look forward to clinically testing it.
“It also serves as a proof of concept for our discovery capabilities and marks Compugen as a leader in the field of computational discovery. We will continue leveraging this core competency in expanding our therapeutic pipeline and achieving our corporate and business goals.”
The phase 1 trial of the cancer immunotherapy COM701 is expected to feature nearly 140 patients and will be held across various oncology clinical centers in the US, said the Israeli pharma company.