Biotechnology company Immutep Limited (ASX: IMM) has been granted a patent for its LAG525 product for the treatment of cancer and infectious disease.
LAG525 is a humanised form of Immutep’s IMP701 antibody that was originally developed by Immutep S.A. (now Immutep S.A.S.), a wholly owned subsidiary of the company. The patent is co-owned by Novartis AG and Immutep S.A.S. and will expire in March 2035.
IMP701 is a therapeutic antibody originally developed to target LAG-3. This antagonist antibody plays a role in controlling the signalling pathways in both effector T cells and regulatory T cells.
The antibody works to both activate effector T cells by blocking inhibitory signals that would otherwise switch them off, and at the same time inhibit Treg function that normally prevent T cells from responding to antigen stimulation.
The antibody therefore removes two brakes that prevent the immune system from responding to and killing cancer cells. In contrast, some other checkpoint antibodies in development target only the effector T cell pathway and don’t address the Treg pathway.
LAG525, a humanised form of IMP701 is currently being evaluated in five Phase I and/or Phase II clinical trials, in combination with Novartis’ PD-1 inhibitor spartalizumab for the treatment of various cancers.
Novartis has full responsibility for the continued development of the antibody program and Immutep is eligible to receive development-based milestone payments and royalties on sales following commercialisation of the antibody.