Novartis, Surface Oncology Sign Immuno-Oncology DealBy
Novartis has signed strategic alliance and licensing agreement with Surface Oncology to provide Novartis access to four pre-clinical programs that target regulatory T cell populations, inhibitory cytokines, and immunosuppressive metabolites in the tumor microenvironment. These programs will be explored as monotherapies and in combination with other complementary therapies in Novartis’ immuno-oncology and targeted therapy portfolios.
At the start of 2015, Novartis launched a new immuno-oncology research team led by cancer vaccine pioneer Glenn Dranoff. This team has built a broad portfolio of clinical and pre-clinical programs focused on stimulating the body’s immune system to combat cancers through targeting critical regulatory steps in the anti-tumor immune response. Novartis’ immuno-oncology portfolio includes checkpoint inhibitors, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CART) technology, myeloid cell targeting agents, the T cell stimulating factor IL-15, STING agonists that enhance immune recognition of cancers, and adenosine receptor antagonists and TGF-beta blocking antibodies that overcome immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment.
Seven of these candidates are already in clinical trials and five more are expected to enter the clinic individually and as combinations by the end of 2016. Novartis’ myeloid cell targeting program (MCS110), anti-TIM-3 program (MGB453), IL-15-agonist (NIZ985) checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-1 (PDR001) and LAG-3 (LAG525), and a small-molecule adenosine receptor antagonist (NIR178) are now in Phase I clinical trials. The CART program (CTL019) is in Phase II clinical trials. A STING agonist (MIW815), a GITR agonist, and an anti-TGF-beta antibody are progressing toward first-in-human clinical trials in 2016.