Asher Biotherapeutics, which is developing cis-targeted immunotherapies, entered into a service agreement with ProBioGen covering all aspects of cell line development, process development, and GMP manufacturing at 1000L bioreactor scale. Officials at ProBioGen say they will now advance the development of Asher’s lead candidate in immuno-oncology applying its DirectedLuckTM transposase technology designed for specific epigenetic targeting.

Although not specified in the service agreement announcement with ProBioGen, Asher Biotherapeutics has previously reported that its lead development candidate, AB248, is a cis-targeted interleukin-2 (IL-2) cancer immunotherapy with the “potential to surpass existing levels of selectivity, efficacy and safety.” AB248, is a fusion protein that selectively activates the IL-2 receptor pathway on CD8+ T cells.

The molecule has demonstrated “highly compelling anti-tumor activity in multiple preclinical tumor models, showing superior efficacy to other IL-2 therapies currently available and in clinical development for the treatment of cancer,” according to Asher. “In contrast to native IL-2, AB248 drives selective, unparalleled expansion of CD8+ T cells. AB248 elicits minimal activation of Tregs, which counteract productive immunity, and minimal activation of other IL-2 responsive cell types that may contribute to dose-limiting toxicity.”

“With cell line development and manufacturing laying the foundation for a successful clinical program, working with an experienced and reliable CDMO partner to navigate the challenges associated with it is of utmost importance,” said Andy Yeung, CTO as Asher Biotherapeutics.

“ProBioGen has ample experience with biotherapeutic development, and we are proud to support Asher in the advancement of their clinical pipeline,” added René Brecht, PhD, COO at ProBioGen.