Company progresses development of tri-specific IO therapeutic ND021
ND021 is designed to improve the risk-benefit profile over conventional IO combination therapies
Numab Therapeutics AG, a biopharmaceutical company developing next-generation multispecific antibody-based immunotherapies for cancer, today announced it appointed Dr. Ignacio Javier Melero Bermejo as scientific advisor.
Ignacio Melero, M.D., Ph.D., is professor of immunology at the Academic Hospital of Navarra and at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) of the University of Navarra. He leads a group working in translational tumor immunotherapy with emphasis on cell therapy, cytokine gene therapy, and immune-stimulatory monoclonal antibodies. Earlier in his career, Dr. Melero contributed to seminal discoveries in the function Natural Killer cells, and T-cell co-stimulation via CD137 (4-1BB). Dr. Melero has been awarded the BIAL Prize of Medicine, the Conde de Cartagena Award from the Royal Academy of Medicine, Doctor Durantez LAIR Foundation Award and a CRI research award. He has served on advisory boards of Bristol Myers-Squibb, Roche-Genentech, AstraZeneca, Merck Serono and Boehringer Ingelheim, and holds research grants by Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Alligator.
David Urech Ph.D., CSO and co-CEO of Numab, said: “With his long experience in fundamental and clinical immunotherapy research, Ignacio’s insights and contribution will be of great value as we are expanding our portfolio of IO programs to unlock the full potential of our next-generation, multi-specific antibody platform.”
Ignacio Melero said: “I look forward to working with the Numab team. Their platform seems highly promising with its ability to generate truly versatile compounds such as ND021. It’s been clear for some time that 4-1BB could be a very potent costimulatory receptor for IO therapy, but it’s been hampered by dose limiting toxicity. ND021 could prove to be an elegant solution to overcome this problem by simultaneously targeting the well validated PDL1.”
Numab has recently selected to advance ND021, a PD-L1/4-1BB/HSA trispecific scDb-scFv, as its lead immuno-oncology (IO) program. Animal data strongly suggest that ND021 should eliminate the tolerability/efficacy trade-off associated with stimulation of the costimulatory receptor 4-1BB, while eliciting best-in-class anti-tumor responses. ND021 leverages the Company’s next-generation multi-specific technology to elicit highly potent – but tumor-restricted – agonism of 4-1BB, while concomitantly blocking PD-L1. By establishing PD-L1-binding as a pre-requisite to initiating 4-1BB stimulation on immune effector cells, ND021 is designed to avoid dose-limiting hepatotoxicities associated with IgG-mediated 4-1BB agonism and at the same time triggers synergistic dual checkpoint modulation to maximize pharmacological activity in the tumor microenvironment.