Trillium Therapeutics said today it will partner with University Health Network and The Hospital for Sick Children to carry out clinical research for its lead cancer immunotherapy candidate TTI-621 (SIRPαFc), using C$3.4 million ($2.6 million) in Canadian government funds.
The funding—to be budgeted over 3 years—will consist of a contribution from Genome Canada, the Canadian government-funded, not-for-profit organization that advances genomic technologies through its Genomic Applications Partnership Program (GAPP) and a matching grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.
“This new matching funding will allow us to substantially expand our translational research efforts, focusing primarily on acute myeloid leukemia, which is ultimately likely to enhance our clinical programs,” Trillium CEO Niclas Stiernholm, Ph.D., said in a statement.
TTI-621 is a fusion protein consisting of a portion of the signal regulatory protein alpha (SIRPα) receptor linked to the Fc region of a human immunoglobulin. The antibody-like molecule binds to CD47 on the tumor cells, preventing malignant cells from delivering a suppressive “do not eat” signal that inhibits the ability of macrophages to engulf and destroy malignant cells.
TTI-621 is now being tested as a single-agent in patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies. A Phase I clinical trial (NCT02663518) is ongoing.
During the program’s dose escalation phase set to enroll up to 36 patients, Trillium said it will work with its partners to characterize the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics to determine the optimal dose for subsequent enrollment in the expansion phase.
During the expansion phase, Trillium and partners plan to explore the safety and preliminary antitumor activity of TTI-621 at the optimal dose identified in the escalation phase in 12–15 patients in any of eight blood cancer types: indolent B-cell lymphoma, aggressive B-cell lymphoma, T-cell lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, multiple myeloma, acute myeloid leukemia, and myelodysplastic syndrome.
The research program is entitled “SIRPαFc: Translating Genomics Research Into a Novel Cancer Immunotherapy.”