OSE Immunotherapeutics and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) signed a multiyear agreement to support ongoing research with the French firm’s humanized monoclonal antibody (mAb) OSE-703 (Effi-3). The antibody targets the alpha chain of the interleukin-7 receptor (IL-7R, CD127).

The research program will investigate IL-7R immunotherapy using OSE-703 against solid tumors, including non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which prior research indicates commonly overexpresses IL-7R, OSE states. The collaboration will be headed by MSK’s Prasad S. Adusumilli, M.D., who has specialist expertise in tumor immunology and the development of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell  therapy.

“We are excited to collaborate with Dr. Adusumilli and one of the world’s most renowned cancer hospitals,” commented Dominique Costantini, M.D., CEO at France-based OSE. “The combination of his pioneering expertise in immuno-oncology, especially within CAR T-cell immunotherapy, and the therapeutic potential of OSE-703, will afford us optimal conditions to establish this promising product candidate’s efficacy profile and identify an appropriate development approach.” 

OSE Immunotherapeutics was formed in May 2016 through the merger of OSE Pharma and Effimune. The firm is developing a pipeline of immunotherapies for applications in cancer, autoimmune diseases, and transplantation. Lead clinical candidate Tedopi® is in Phase III development for treating human leukocyte antigen A2 (HLA-A2)-positive advanced or metastatic NSCLC. The firm is also planning to start a Phase II study later this year, in collaboration with a European research organization, to evaluate Tedopi combined with a checkpoint in inhibitor for the lung cancer indication.

Last month, OSE and Selexis reported a commercial license agreement through which OSE will have access to research cell banks from Swiss firm Selexis’ SUREtechnology Platform™, to support development of another IL-7R antagonist, OSE-127 (effi-7), which is in preclinical development for the potential treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases, including ulcerative colitis. The firms had previously signed two service agreements giving OSE access to the Selexis research cell banks for two other preclinical-stage products. In December 2016, Servier paid OSE €10.25 million ($11.49 million) for an option to license Effi-7.

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