Recognize and Respond

Our context-dependent therapeutics are a new class of protein drugs that are only active when bound to a target molecule.

Cancer cells actively suppress and evade the immune system in order to survive. While cytokines with broad immuno-stimulatory activity can increase the anti-tumor immune response, many have significant dose-limiting toxicities. Cytokines which act when and where they're needed have the potential to amplify the anti-tumor immune response while reducing systemic toxicity.

Context-dependent therapies have two components:

Sensor Component

The sensor consists of an antibody binding domain that can bind a tissue- or cell type-specific protein or metabolic marker. Following sensor binding, the protein therapeutic undergoes a conformational change into an active form. Sensors can be designed to target any molecule that an antibody can bind, including native proteins, modified proteins, and metabolites.

Therapeutic component

The therapeutic consists of a protein drug such as a cytokine, an antibody binding domain, a receptor, or an enzyme, that is only active once the sensor component has bound its target.

Off in Transit, On at Target

Addressing the problem of systemic toxicity

Treatments such as checkpoint inhibitors harness the immune system to attack tumor cells. While these therapeutics are highly effective for a subset of patients, the majority of patients do not respond. Combination treatments with multiple immuno-stimulatory drugs may broaden and deepen patient responses, but many such combinations are limited by unacceptable levels of toxicity.

Our context-dependent therapeutics will allow systemic administration with localized function. We believe this approach will result in cancer treatments with improved efficacy and decreased toxicity.

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We are currently pursuing multiple opportunities combining cytokine therapeutic modalities with well-studied markers of the immuno-suppressive tumor microenvironment.