Boehringer Ingelheim and OSE Immunotherapeutics have announced the progression of a SIRPα inhibitor antibody, BI 770371, to clinical trial.

The cancer immunology treatment will enter a Phase Ib trial. The advancement is part of a broader immuno-oncology programme aimed at enhancing the body’s immune response to cancer cells.

SIRPα is a receptor on macrophages that, when bound to a cluster of differentiation 47 (CD47), inhibits the immune system’s ability to destroy cancer cells.

By blocking SIRPα, the new antibody aims to promote the destruction of cancer cells by macrophages.

Boehringer Ingelheim translational medicine and clinical pharmacology global head Vittoria Zinzalla stated: “We are very excited about progressing the SIRPα program which was initiated by OSE.

“With the positive data from our first clinical studies and the switch to an improved antibody, we hope to achieve our aim of accelerating and expanding our pipeline of first-in-class cancer therapies to transform the lives of patients affected by cancer.”

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OSE, focusing on the immuno-oncology and immuno-inflammation field, had previously licensed BI 770371 and another asset, BI 765063, to Boehringer Ingelheim.

These assets are products of the myeloid checkpoint platform, which targets immune regulatory receptors on macrophages and dendritic cells to optimise their therapeutic potential in cancer treatment.

OSE Immunotherapeutics CEO Nicolas Poirier said: “We are thrilled to see the SIRPα project moving forward in clinical development in immuno-oncology and the expansion in CRM diseases.

“This brings us one step closer to achieving our aim of providing this selective SIRPα innovation for the benefit of more patients.”

In May 2024, Boehringer expanded its collaboration with OSE, acquiring a preclinical oncology asset and extending the scope of the clinical programmes for both BI 765063 and BI 770371.

In this transaction, Boehringer provided an upfront payment of €13.5m ($14.6m) to the French biotech company, with additional milestone-based payments of up to €17.5m ($19m) for the checkpoint inhibitor.