Compugen Ltd. has disclosed the initiation of its second focused discovery program, aimed at identification of novel targets for antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) cancer therapy focusing on clinical situations with poor survival rates and/or recurrent cancers.
This second program follows Compugen's successful initial focused discovery program for novel immune checkpoint proteins, a number of which have been incorporated in the Company's Pipeline Program as Fc fusion protein drugs for immunology and/or as therapeutic targets for monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs for cancer immunotherapy.
Cancer therapy through ADCs, whereby the antibody delivers a cytotoxic drug directly and specifically to the cancer cell in order to induce direct killing of the cells, addresses an area of high unmet medical need and is of great interest to the pharma industry.
However, the lack of suitable ADC targets is a major problem. This provides an opportunity for Compugen to serve as a key source of such potential targets and their mAbs.
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, president and CEO of Compugen, stated, “Concurrent with our further research and development activities and collaboration discussions involving our leading Pipeline Program product candidates, we are pleased to disclose this second focused discovery effort, which was a previously stated objective for 2013. Based on the success of our first such effort, we expect initial ADC target discoveries to be added to our pipeline by yearend, thus further expanding the scope and diversity of the cancer therapy arm of our pipeline.”
The new discovery platform is designed to provide hypothesis-driven analysis of complex sets of expression and clinical data to predict proteins that can serve as novel mAb targets.
The platform is based on the integration of multiple proprietary systems, tools, and algorithms from Compugen’s existing predictive discovery infrastructure with additional new specialized algorithms and queries geared towards ADC target discovery.
Through the use of this discovery platform, utilizing data from numerous clinically annotated biological samples from various solid cancers, Compugen intends to identify potential high value targets expressed on the surface of various types of cancer cells that are associated with poor clinical outcomes, such as low overall survival and short relapse-free survival.
A planned additional use of the discovery platform is the identification of mAb targets associated with tumors unresponsive to certain treatments, thereby potentially providing a more personalized therapeutic approach based on the target's expression level in individual patients.