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LEXINGTON, Mass., May 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology company with an extensive pipeline of therapeutics designed to activate the immune response to cancers and infections, today announced that it has entered into 3 new clinical collaborations with Targovax, Oxford BioTherapeutics, and Immunogenesis, doubling its current number of clinical collaborations. These 6 collaborations span a range of Agenus’ clinical assets, including botensilimab (Fc-enhanced anti-CTLA-4), balstilimab (anti-PD-1), zalifrelimab (anti-CTLA-4), and QS-21 STIMULON™.
Agenus is pursuing partnerships with companies developing agents with complementary mechanisms, paving the way for promising immunotherapy combinations to address immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. The combination studies are being sponsored and executed by our collaborators, with drug supply and scientific support provided by Agenus. This strategy, enabled by in-house integrated manufacturing and scientific capabilities, positions Agenus to achieve the insights and advances needed to drive development on accelerated timelines.
“These new collaborations with Targovax, Oxford BioTherapeutics, and Immunogenesis are exciting next steps in our partnership strategy to broaden combinations and indications under evaluation with our immunomodulatory antibodies,” said Dr. Steven O’Day, Chief Medical Officer at Agenus. “We believe these combinations may unlock the power of immunotherapy more broadly, potentially offering new and promising benefit to patients with treatment-resistant solid tumors.”
Agenus’ new and ongoing clinical collaborations are supporting and enabling:
Targovax to conduct a clinical trial combining botensilimab and balstilimab with ONCOS-102 (oncolytic virus) in patients with PD-1 relapsed/refractory melanoma. ONCOS-102 is designed to induce immune activation and immunogenic cell death to improve response to immunotherapy.
Oxford BioTherapeutics to conduct a clinical trial combining balstilimab with OBT076 (CD205-targeting antibody-drug conjugate) in patients with solid tumors, including lung, gastric, and ovarian cancer. OBT076 is expected to deplete CD205+ cancer cells, and immuno-suppressive cells within the tumor microenvironment, leading to T cell activation and increased response to immunotherapy.
Immunogenesis to conduct a clinical trial combining balstilimab and zalifrelimab with evofosfamide (hypoxia-reversal agent) in patients with advanced solid tumors, including prostate, pancreatic, HPV-negative head and neck cancer. Evofosfamide is anticipated to reduce tumor hypoxia and restore T cell infiltration and activity within the tumor microenvironment, increasing responsiveness to checkpoint therapy.
Targovax to conduct a clinical trial combining QS-21 STIMULON with TG01 (KRAS vaccine) in up to 3 cancer indications, including multiple myeloma. TG01 is designed to induce T cells that recognize and destroy mut-RAS cancer cells; QS-21 STIMULON is expected to improve immune cell recognition, activation, and TCR diversity of the immune response.
Rottapharm Biotech is conducting a clinical trial combining balstilimab with CR6086 (EP4 antagonist) in patients with pMMR-MSS colorectal cancer. CR6086 is expected to inhibit the immune suppressive role of prostaglandins in the tumor microenvironment, improving immunogenicity and responsiveness to immunotherapy. The Phase 1/2 study commenced in 2021.
Nelum is conducting a clinical trial combining zalifrelimab with NLM-001 (hedgehog inhibitor) and chemotherapy in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. NLM-001 in combination with chemotherapy is anticipated to condition the tumor microenvironment to improve T cell infiltration, activation, and responsiveness to immunotherapy. The Phase 1/2 study commenced in 2021.
Agenus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body's immune system to fight cancer. The Company's vision is to expand the patient populations benefiting from cancer immunotherapy by pursuing combination approaches that leverage a broad repertoire of antibody therapeutics, adoptive cell therapies (through its subsidiary MiNK Therapeutics), and adjuvants (through its subsidiary SaponiQx). The Company is equipped with a suite of antibody discovery platforms and a state-of-the-art GMP manufacturing facility with the capacity to support clinical programs. Agenus is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit www.agenusbio.com and our Twitter handle @agenus_bio. Information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted on our website and Twitter.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws, including statements relating to the use of therapeutic candidates botensilimab, balstilimab, zalifrelimab, and QS-21 STIMULON, for instance, statements regarding therapeutic benefit and efficacy, mechanism of action, potency, durability, and safety profile of the therapeutic candidates, both alone and in combination with each other and/or other agents; future clinical and regulatory development plans and commercialization plans for botensilimab, balstilimab, zalifrelimab, and QS-21 STIMULON; and any other statements containing the words "may," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "hopes," "intends," "plans," "will" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the factors described under the Risk Factors section of our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and available on our website: www.agenusbio.com. Agenus cautions investors not to place considerable reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Agenus undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements, other than to the extent required by law. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.
Ethan Lovell, Chief External Affairs & Communications Officer