Led by Biomunex alongside Institut Curie de Paris and GTP Bioways, the BiXAb5 unconventional T cell redirection project aims to create a revolutionary immunotherapy approach for the treatment of cancer based on bispecific antibodies; it has a total budget of 5.6 million euros.
It was one of nine projects subsidized by the French authorities, out of a total of 90 applications, as part of its Grand Challenge Biomedicinediagram.
Partners use redirection technology targeting a subpopulation of unconventional T cells; a previous research merger between Institut Curie and Biomunex resulted in a patent application covering an unconventional universal approach to T cell redirection.
The project is based on bispecific antibodies generated by the BiXAb platform, discovered and developed by Biomunex. This proprietary next-generation plug and play platform can quickly and inexpensively produce bispecific antibodies from any pair of monoclonal antibodies as building blocks, with minimal engineering.
Safe and effective immunotherapy
This work could open the door to safer and more effective immunotherapy than current T cell redirection immunotherapies such as CD3 or gamma-delta. Pierre-Emmanuel Gérard, CEO of Biomunex, explained to BioPharma-Reporter why this is the case:
“BiXAb5 targets a subpopulation of unconventional T cells which, when redirected to engage cancer cells, can exhibit significant cytotoxic capabilities. In addition, the engagement and activation of this subset of unconventional T cells does not induce a significant release of cytokines, which would suggest a safer clinical profile. In addition, BiXAb5, unlike conventional T cell activators, is limited to a subset of T cells and does not bind regulatory T cells, which can negatively impact overall tumor control.. “
He said the therapeutic approach could also be used to treat both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies: “The unconventional T cell subpopulation targeted by BiXAb5 naturally resides in blood and several tissues; it has the propensity, due to the expression of a set of chemokine receptors, to enter tissues and therefore has the potential to infiltrate solid tumors with greater efficiency. Therefore, it is potentially a T cell subpopulation of choice for treating both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. “
The decisive criteria that led to the selection of the project by the French government were the level of maturity of the technology, the strong economic model with Biomunex as project manager, the ability to generate private investments and create jobs, the integration into the French biotech sector and the medical needs covered by this project.
To support the project, the company is creating 10 new positions in the short term.
In addition to this unique immunotherapy, Biomunex is also developing a pipeline of innovative bispecific antibodies. One of these antibodies was licensed to the Swiss biopharmaceutical company, Onward Therapeutics, in February 2021, where it is in development for use in the treatment of hematologic malignancies. Other programs are being developed in collaboration with numerous academic and private partners, with the objective of starting the clinical development of several BiXAb antibodies from 2023.