ELB021 (Anti-CD160 antibody in oncology)
1 new target, 3 new strategies to attack cancer cells. Status: identification of lead antibodies
Lift the cancer immune evasion
Recent evidence has highlighted the importance of the CD160 receptor in activating immune cells and in particular NK and T cells. Indeed, CD160-deficient mice display a marked reduction in interferon gamma (IFN γ ) production by NK cells, which correlates with an uncontrolled tumour growth (Tu et al, 2015). Moreover, treatment with an anti-CD160 stimulates IFN γ production in humans, and its combination with an anti-PD1 (immune checkpoint inhibitor widely used in the clinic) activates T cell proliferation in HIV patients (El-Far et al, 2014). The anti-CD160 antibody should therefore reactivate the anti-tumour immune response, and should do so through an alternative, complementary pathway to anti-PD1 antibodies (El-Far et al, 2014 ; Vigano et al, 2014).
Selectively wipe out circulating cancer cells that express CD160
While CD160 is not expressed at the surface of normal B cells, it is overexpressed in 98% of CLL cases (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) and in 100% of HCL cases (Hairy Cell Leukemia). ELSALYS BIOTECH works towards developing anti-CD160 antibodies capable of activating the innate immune response through triggering antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC) to selectively counter cancerous B cells.
Anti-angiogenic antibodies to reduce tumour size
CD160 is typically expressed at the surface of endothelial cells surrounding newly formed blood vessels in and around solid tumours, but not in blood vessels irrigating normal tissue (Fons et al, 2006 ; Chabot et al, 2011). This difference in expression could be exploited to target CD160 to specifically block tumour vascularisation, an approach that is not currently being developed by ELSALYS BIOTECH.
An anti-CD160 antibody that fights cancer on three front lines.
Advancement status and clinical development plan
ELSALYS BIOTECH is currently developing anti-CD160 antibody variants that best fit its therapeutic goals. The company will next assess their efficacy and safety in different cancers, both as monotherapy and in combination with existing treatments. Part of the preclinical work will be done in collaboration with scientists from the prestigious German Institute for Cancer Research (DKFZ) who will evaluate the expression of the CD160 receptor and test the safety of the company’s anti-CD160 antibodies in a cohort of CLL patients.
Following on these studies, the anti-CD160 antibodies should enter clinical trials in 2023.