Selecta Biosciences has licensed to use and test the experimental anti-cancer drug LMB-100 from the Center for Cancer Research (CCR) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The agreement promotes additional development of LMB-100 as a targeted cancer therapy.
“This marks yet another major milestone for Selecta as we execute on our strategy to enable a range of proprietary, non-immunogenic biologic therapies using our proprietary immune tolerance platform,” Werner Cautreels, president and CEO of Selecta, said in a press release.
LMB-100 is a targeted immunotherapy that recognizes and binds to mesothelin, a protein found in mesothelioma and other cancer cells, but is not expressed in healthy cells. After binding to mesothelin, this drug delivers a bacterial toxin that kills the cancer cells.
Currently in clinical trials for the treatment of mesothelioma (NCT02798536) and pancreatic cancer (NCT02810418) — both of which are recruiting participants — interim results have shown that LMB-100 drives adverse immune responses, which prevented patients from completing the planned four cycles of treatment.
Despite of the immune system reactivity against the treatment, tumor regression was observed in the only two patients who were able to receive at least three cycles of treatment. The findings suggest that reducing the treatment-related adverse immune reactions could make LMB-100 a possible therapeutic drug for many more patients.
In a prior preclinical study, researchers found that Selecta’s drug candidate SVP-Rapamycin had the potential to reduce the immune system’s reactivity to LMB-100, enabling extended treatments with the drug. This strategy could enhance LMB-100 anti-tumor activity and overcome its limitations for therapeutic administration.
Selecta’s proprietary drug development platform technology, Synthetic Vaccine Particles (SVP), prevents the formation of antibodies that can recognize LMB-100 and react against it. This allows not only repeated treatment cycles with lower adverse side effects, but will also enable LMB-100 to fully accomplish its anti-tumor capacity.
Selecta and NCI are currently in discussions regarding a planned Phase 1b clinical trial that will evaluate multiple cycles of this combination treatment.
“By in-licensing this promising clinical-stage product candidate, we are extending our footprint to include oncology, where the efficacy of many biologic treatments is hampered by immunogenicity,” Cautreels said.
“Based on our preclinical work with NCI, we believe a combination treatment of LMB-100 and our proprietary SVP-Rapamycin may allow patients with rare, serious and aggressive forms of cancer to tolerate and benefit from multiple immunotoxin treatment cycles,” he said.
Under the terms of the licensing agreement, Selecta will give $50,000 to the NCI as an upfront payment. The NCI is also entitled to up to $9.25 million in milestone payments and royalties from net sales of any commercialized treatment resulting from the license.