Aduro Biotech licenses Stanford Neoantigen Identification Technology

Monday, January 23, 2017

Aduro Biotech, a biopharmaceutical company with three distinct immunotherapy technologies, has announced an exclusive license agreement with Stanford University for state-of-the-art neoantigen identification technology developed by Dr. Hanlee Ji, associate professor of medicine at Stanford. Aduro will leverage its proprietary live, attenuated double-deleted Listeria (LADD) immunotherapy platform to engineer personalized LADD-based cancer therapies (pLADD) encoding multiple neoantigens identified through this technology. The company plans to initially evaluate pLADD for the treatment of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, including colorectal cancer, with a phase I clinical trial expected to be initiated in 2017.  

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, Aduro received an exclusive license to the proprietary bioinformatics algorithms and computational workflows for neoantigen identification and selection. The accurate identification of neoantigens, tumor markers that are unique to an individual’s tumor, is believed to be critical in the development of a patient-specific cancer treatment. Aduro’s LADD technology, which has been shown in clinical studies to remodel the tumor microenvironment, will be used to create a patient-specific immunotherapy that is engineered to enable the presentation of multiple selected neoantigens in dendritic cells, with the aim of inducing a targeted, robust anti-cancer immune response. 

“We are excited to leverage the strength of Aduro’s LADD program with this new expertise in identifying a patient’s unique repertoire of cancer antigens to make personalized immunotherapies a reality for patients in need,” said Thomas Dubensky Jr., Ph.D., chief scientific officer of Aduro. “We look forward to applying the discoveries made possible with this highly sophisticated computational approach to neoantigen identification, with the aim to initiate a phase I clinical trial later this year.”

Personalized LADD, or pLADD, is a second-generation LADD technology that leverages the immune-activating activity of the Listeria bacterial vector in combination with neoantigens, which are unique, patient-specific tumor markers exclusively expressed in an individual’s tumor cells. Once administered, pLADD therapies are expected to mobilize the immune system in two ways—first, through the immediate recognition of the presence of Listeria as being foreign, and subsequently, through a specific and customized immune attack on cells containing the tumor neoantigens presented by pLADD.

To create a patient-specific pLADD therapy, a physician begins by removing tumor cells from the patient. These cells are analyzed in order to molecularly characterize (sequence) the tumor, including any mutations that are unique to the patient’s own tumor cells. Predictive algorithms for antigen processing are run to identify pertinent tumor antigens. Aduro then creates a LADD strain that includes the patient-specific neoantigens for administration. An Investigational New Drug (IND) application has been cleared by the FDA, and a phase I trial evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of pLADD in patients with cancers of the gastrointestinal tract is planned for 2017.

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