Company will initially focus this immunotherapy on pancreatic cancer.

Lorus Therapeutics entered into a global license agreement with Genentech for certain patents owned by Genentech related to anticancer agent IL-17E. Lorus has selected pancreatic cancer and malignant melanoma as the initial lead cancer indications for this agent.

IL-17E (also known as IL-25) is a cytokine that plays an important role in inflammation. Lorus discovered that human IL-17E has potent anticancer properties against a range of solid tumors including melanoma, pancreatic, colon, lung, ovarian, and breast tumor models with very low toxicity. IL-17E is highly potent and does not require further modification or optimization before proceeding to the formal IND-enabling preclinical studies, according to the companies.

“Lorus scientists were the first to discover the anticancer properties of IL-17E, and we have patents pending for the use of IL-17E in cancer in the major world markets,” notes Aiping Young, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Lorus. “IL-17E represents a unique immunotherapeutic approach to the treatment of some of the most important cancers, and preclinical data to date shows excellent efficacy with low toxicity; properties that we plan to demonstrate in the clinic in the near future.”

The company has two antimicrobial programs at the preclinical phase and four cancer drug candidates besides IL-17E. LOR-2040 and Virulizin are both in Phase II trials. LOR-2040 targets RNR-R2 and is being studied as a treatment for AML. Virulizin is an immunotherapy being investigated against pancreatic cancer in collaboration with Zor Pharma. LOR-253 targets MTF-1 and is being testing in Phase I against solid tumors. LOR-500 targets MELK and is also being evaluated as a treatment for solid tumors at the lead optimization phase.

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