Immunic AG has announced that it has acquired 4SC AG’s immunology portfolio, which includes two drug development programs and associated intellectual property and know-how. Immunic will continue all research and development activities for these drug development programs and 4SC will receive a one-time upfront payment as well as milestone payments and royalties.
“We are very pleased to successfully sell our non-core immunology assets to the very motivated and experienced team at Immunic. This transaction generates additional cash for 4SC and further demonstrates our commitment to focus 4SC on its core portfolio of epigenetic anti-cancer compounds, resminostat and 4SC-202”, comments Dr. Jason Loveridge, CEO of 4SC.
Dr. Manfred Gröppel, Immunic’s co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, says: “We are delighted that we are able to acquire several high-quality drug development programs with targets that have already been proven of high relevance in various immune and autoimmune diseases. Thus, Immunic is well positioned to soon become a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with two innovative development programs.”
Program IMU-366: Highly potent and selective cytokine inhibitors
The IMU-366 program comprises one lead compound and a family of orally available small molecule inhibitors of RORgt, a nuclear receptor known to influence the production of a wide range of cytokines (messenger molecules) involved in various immune or autoimmune diseases. “RORgt is crucial for the development of the TH17 T cell subset (specialized immune cells) and for these cells to release their specific cytokines after activation”, explains Dr. Andreas Mühler, Immunic’s co-founder and Chief Medical Officer.
“Unfortunately, an overreaction of TH17 immune cells often is an underlying mechanism of various diseases. In pre-clinical experiments the lead compound of the IMU-366 program demonstrated efficacy in various models of immune and autoimmune diseases. These data will allow Immunic to develop drug candidates with activity in a variety of diseases such as psoriasis.”
Program IMU-838: A new oral treatment option for Crohn’s disease
IMU-838 is an orally available, next-generation immune modulator. IMU-838 inhibits an enzyme called “dihydroorotate dehydrogenase” (DHODH) which plays a key role in the metabolism of activated T and B cells while leaving other immune cells largely unaffected and allows the immune system to stay functioning, e.g. in fighting infections.
“Despite the recent availability of new biologics to be injected intravenously or subcutaneously for the subset of patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease, there is still a large unmet medical need to find safe oral therapies for all types and forms of Crohn’s disease”, states Dr. Andreas Mühler. “Immunic currently plans to soon initiate phase I studies for IMU-838 in healthy volunteers followed by a phase II clinical trial program in patients suffering from Crohn’s disease.”