arGEN-X N.V. and the Clinical Research Department of the University of Bern have announced an exclusive license agreement enabling arGEN-X to develop and commercialize ARGX-110-based therapies to overcome treatment resistance mechanisms in hematologic tumors.
The license agreement has arisen from a highly productive collaboration between the two groups, jointly announced in December 2014 at the annual ASH (American Society of Hematology) conference.
Ongoing preclinical work has demonstrated the potential use of ARGX-110 to overcome imatinib resistance in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), data which are published in the leading journal Science Translational Medicine.
“The multi-faceted clinical potential of ARGX-110 in CD70 positive tumors is unfolding rapidly as we progress through preclinical and clinical development. Together with our collaborators in Bern, our discovery that CD70 blockade overcomes resistance to tyrosine kinase inhibitor treatment in CML patients offers an exciting in-road into combination therapy with ARGX-110. Through this collaboration, we have built a deeper understanding of the role of leukemia stem cells (LSCs) in CML and how CD70 plays a role in establishment of resistance to standard of care therapies,” commented Hans de Haard, Chief Scientific Officer of arGEN-X.
“LSCs are responsible for the development of imatinib resistance. This resistance is caused by imatinib-dependent increase of CD70 expression which signals through its known receptor, CD27, resulting in the alternative activation of the Wnt signaling pathway. Combination therapy of imatinib and CD70 blockade has been shown to eliminate LSCs both in a murine CML model and in CML tumor xenografts,” emphasize Carsten Riether and Adrian Ochsenbein, who are leading the research project at the University of Bern.