US-based biopharmaceutical company Juno Therapeutics has acquired privately held, Boston-based RedoxTherapies to gain an exclusive licence for vipadenant to treat certain cancers.
Vipadenant is an orally bioavailable, synthetic, small molecule adenosine A2a receptor antagonist that can disrupt important immunosuppressive pathways in the tumour microenvironment in the case of certain cancers.
Juno Therapeutics currently aims to explore this molecule in combination with its engineered T-cell platform.
RedoxTherapies founder Dr Michail Sitkovsky said: “As a leader in understanding the potential for adenosine receptor antagonists to destroy the immunosuppressive, tumour-protecting barrier created by the tumour-generated, extracellular adenosine, Redox compiled critical intellectual property to interrogate this biology.”
The adenosine pathway is one of the primary reasons that cause a significant decrease in the immune response in cancer through upregulation of checkpoints, metabolic downregulation of T-cells, and a complete immune suppression.
Juno Therapeutics chief scientific officer Dr Hy Levitsky said: “Multiple approaches to overcoming the tumour microenvironment will be key in optimising the clinical benefit of engineered T-cells, and T-cells more broadly, in the treatment of cancer.
“Inhibiting the adenosine pathway is one of the most intriguing pathways in this important area of science, and we look forward to testing the hypothesis around this pathway clinically.”
As part of the acquisition, Juno Therapeutics has also purchased the proprietary know-how and intellectual property related to the development of A2aR antagonists in combination with immuno-modulatory agents, including the company’s engineered T-cells.
Under the deal, RedoxTherapies founder and adenosine biology pioneer Dr Michail Sitkovsky will work as a scientific consultant to Juno Therapeutics.