Elsalys Biotech has entered a preclinical collaboration with German cancer research institute DKFZ to initiate the development of ELB021 in B-Cell leukaemia, under European Union (EU) sponsored programme Eurostars.
ELB021 is the company’s first-in-class monoclonal antibody that targets the cell-surface receptor CD160.
The CD160 receptor helps control both the innate and adaptive immune response and neo-angiogenesis regulation.
It is also a tumour-antigen that can mediate activation of several cancer cells, notably in B-cell leukaemia such as Chronic Lymphoid (CLL) and Hairy-Cell Leukaemias (HCL).
In-licensed by the company from Inserm Transfert in February last year, ELB021 is a new immunotherapy antibody that combines complementary mechanisms of action to improve the efficacy / toxicity cancer treatment ratio, particularly in B-cell leukaemia.
Elsalys Biotech co-founder and chief executive officer Dr Christine Guillen said: “The recognition by the Eurostars programme underlies the therapeutic potential of our two-in-one approach in oncology.
“This new funding accelerates the development of this proprietary first-in-class antibody. We are also very proud to further collaborate with the DKFZ, a European leader in cancer research.”
Early studies have demonstrated that ELB021 helps stimulate innate and adaptive anti-tumour immune response and eliminates selective cancer cells expressing CD160.
The overall budget amount for the preclinical collaboration is valued at €1m.
Based on the preliminary data of ELB021, the main aim is to generate the preclinical proof-of-concept and the pharmacological package that open the way to the first-in-human trial.
DKFZ will help measure CD160 expression in CLL cells on large patients' cohort and assess the efficacy and safety of the anti-CD160 antibody in relevant mouse models.
Clinical trials with anti-CD160 are expected to be initiated by 2019 (in ophtalmology) and 2020 (in oncology).