Boehringer Ingelheim and Enara Bio reported that they have entered into a strategic partnership and licensing agreement to study and produce new targeted cancer immunotherapies, leveraging Enara Bio’s Dark Antigen™ development framework.
The agreement integrates the approach of Boehringer Ingelheim to combat cancer by combining top research with groundbreaking immune-oncology platforms, such as oncolytic viruses and cancer vaccines, with Enara Bio’s comprehensive expertise in cancer antigen detection. This essential agreement is focused on the development of new efficient treatments for patients with lung and gastrointestinal cancers with complicated treatment.
Collaboration to target up to three types of lung and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers
Jonathon Sedgwick, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation Research, Boehringer Ingelheim, stated:
“We are excited to partner with Enara Bio as part of our mission to bring transformative new treatments to cancer patients. We are advancing a unique pipeline of cancer cell-directed agents, immuno-oncology therapies and intelligent combination approaches to help combat cancer. Enara Bio’s unique discovery platform offers a novel and highly differentiated approach that will allow us to look beyond the known proteome to identify and characterize Dark Antigens to support the development of T-Cell Receptor (TCR)-directed immunotherapies and therapeutic vaccines. We believe this is a highly innovative and promising approach to the development of the next wave of cancer immunotherapies.”
Enara Bio’s patented Dark Antigen Platform Technology (EDAPT™) will be used in the field of lung and gastrointestinal cancer to discover and confirm novel Dark Antigens in up to three forms of tumors. The identification of common antigens could contribute to the production of vaccines that can be used readily to support a larger community of patients with cancer. Dark Antigens are a modern class of cancer-related antigens originating from genetic dark matter or a part of the human genome that is not usually expressed as a protein. In healthy cells, dark antigen-encoding sequences are normally silenced but are activated and expressed on tumor cells. They are associated with particular forms of cancer and, significantly, are shared across patients. They provide a wide potential range of novel antigens that can be developed as targets for new immunotherapies, as they are usually not apparent to the immune system.
Kevin Pojasek, President and CEO of Enara Bio said:
“We are extremely pleased to enter this strategic licensing agreement, our first major deal leveraging our pioneering Dark Antigen discovery and validation capabilities. Boehringer Ingelheim is an innovation-led company dedicated to producing breakthrough treatments with a significant focus on cancer. We are excited to build this relationship and are encouraged that Boehringer Ingelheim shares our view of the potential of Dark Antigens to be a source of important and unconventional targets for novel cancer immunotherapies. This agreement provides strong validation for our science and our approach to exploiting the cancer-associated antigenic repertoire derived from genomic dark matter and we look forward to a productive collaboration.”
The collaboration with Enara Bio is the latest of Boehringer Ingelheim’s many strategic collaborations and acquisitions to develop its cancer vaccine platform and offers significant evidence for the Dark Antigen platform of Enara Bio. Boehringer Ingelheim has been positioned to establish sophisticated virus and vaccine modalities for its prime/boost vaccine platform with the previous acquisitions of ViraTherapeutics and AMAL Therapeutics’ vaccine modalities combined with Enara Bio’s capabilities.
Boehringer Ingelheim strengthens its position in the cancer vaccine and T-cell engager spaces
Under the deal, Boehringer Ingelheim has the possibility of licensing the Dark Antigens that Enara Bio has found and validated. Boehringer Ingelheim will now be liable for both non-clinical and clinical development, as well as for the commercial viability of related immunotherapies for cancer, including therapeutic vaccines and T-cells biologics redirecting. Enara Bio reserves the right to use all antigens discovered for use in cell therapy-based products. Enara Bio is entitled to receive an initial payment along with research/preclinical milestones and license costs for each tumor type that is studied. Moreover, Enara Bio is now entitled to obtain more than EUR 876 million for clinical, regulatory and commercial milestones in addition to royalties on future product sales.
About Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim has been proprietary and family-owned since its establishment in 1885. The company is dedicated to developing life-changing innovative medicines for humans and animals.
Boehringer Ingelheim is devoted to its long-term vision, to recognize and resolve potential health challenges, and focus on areas of need where they can do the most good. The company achieved EUR 19 billion in net revenue in 2019. The large Boehringer Ingelheim investment of approximately EUR 3.5 billion in R&D is expected to boost progress, creating a next wave of life-saving treatments and enhancing the quality of life.
Boehringer Ingelheim is discovering more research avenues by recognizing the potential of collaboration and the diversity of experts in the life-science world. The company is speeding up the delivery of the next medical breakthrough by partnering together, which will transform the lives of patients today, and in decades to come. The company’s dedication to scientific innovation has led to groundbreaking lung cancer treatments and Boehringer Ingelheim is advancing a unique pipeline of cancer cell-directed agents, immuno-oncology and intelligent hybrid methods to help battle various cancers.
More information about Boehringer Ingelheim can be found at www.boehringer-ingelheim.com.
About Enara Bio
Enara Bio (formerly Ervaxx) is a science-led organization designed to create novel targeted cancer immunotherapies for the treatment of a large patient population targeting the T-cell/cancer-cell interface (the ‘immune synapse’). To find and classify new immunotherapy targets, such as Dark AntigensTM and MR1-presented ligands, Enara Bio is discovering the secret depths of cancer and T-cell biology.
With TCR-directed T-cell immunotherapy and therapeutic vaccines, Enara Bio is pioneering solutions to exploit these goals. In order to accomplish this goal, in its Oxford, UK-based research lab, the company is leveraging its differentiated Dark AntigenTM and TCR discovery platforms that combine bioinformatics, immunopeptidomics, metabolomics and immunology. Enara Bio has the backing of leading investors in life sciences, including SV Health Investors. To further push the leading edge of these emerging branches of science, the company has collaborations with world-class academic institutions, including the Francis Crick Institute, Cardiff University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Oxford.
For more information visit: www.enarabio.com
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