ImmunoCellular Therapeutics and Memgen signed a nonbinding letter of intent to negotiate the terms of a potential collaboration on clinical trials combining ImmunoCellular’s dendritic cell-based immunotherapy candidates ICT-107 and ICT-140 with Memgen’s viral cancer immunotherapy ISF35. The firms suggest that combining the two platforms could offer an approach to stimulating CD40 and triggering potent anticancer responses.

ImmunoCellular’s lead dendritic cell-based candidate ICT-107 is designed to target six tumor-associated antigens on glioblastoma stem cells. An international Phase III registrational study is ongoing in newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients. ImmunoCellular was awarded $19.9 million in funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) in September 2015 to support the study. ICT-140 is a Phase II-ready, dendritic cell-based immunotherapy that targets seven ovarian tumor-associated antigens.

Memgen’s ISF35 viral cancer immunotherapy comprises an adenoviral vector encoding an optimized form of the CD40 ligand. Memgen aims to collaborate on clinical development of the candidate in combination with programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1), programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1), and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated antigen 4 (CTLA4) checkpoint inhibitors against multiple tumor types. ISF35 was granted orphan drug designation by the FDA in April 2016 for treating Stage IIb through IV melanoma.

Commenting on the potential for collaboration with Memgen, ImmunoCellular’s president and CEO  Anthony Gringeri, Ph.D., said, “Memgen's viral cancer immunotherapy ISF35 has the potential to enhance the activity of ImmunoCellular's immuno-oncology product candidates, including ICT-107. The ability to stimulate CD40 with a viral vector could play an important role in increasing the efficacy of dendritic cell immunotherapies. We look forward to potentially testing these therapies in combination trials.”

Mark Cantwell, Ph.D., Memgen CSO, added, “The combination of ISF35 and ICT-107 with checkpoint inhibitors may provide a multipronged antitumor immune response. This includes ISF35's CD40-driven dendritic and T-cell activation and expansion, ICT-107's tumor-specific antigen presentation, and checkpoint inhibitor release of the PD-1 pathway-mediated inhibition of the antitumor immune response.”

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