Biotech Start Up Expands its Oncology Immunotherapeutic Product Pipeline
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Batu Biologics, an immunotherapy company developing an anti-angiogenic cancer vaccine, announced today the signing of a license agreement with the Regents of the University of California, granting exclusive rights to novel peptide drugs developed at UC San Diego that have been proven to stimulate cancer-killing immune responses. Batu Biologics plans to utilize the licensed technology to enhance the potency of the antigen-specific immune response induced by the company’s novel ValloVax™ lung cancer vaccine. The company also plans to commercialize the UC San Diego technology as a standalone treatment for patients with melanoma.
"Productive and beneficial relationships with cutting-edge pharmaceutical companies such as Batu Biologics help speed further development of promising new drugs to those most in need," said Sandra A. Brown, Vice Chancellor for Research at UC San Diego. "We look forward to this collaboration.”
The lead peptide drug, hp91, has been reported in several peer-reviewed publications to stimulate immune responses in animal models that are effective in multiple diseases, including cancer. A recent article in the Journal of Translational Medicine demonstrated that the hp91 peptide specifically activated dendritic cells (DC), which are the most potent stimulators of T cell mediated immune responses. Hp91 has also been proven to enhance antigen-specific killer T cells and antibody-mediated immune responses, providing rationale that this may be a powerful TH1-type adjuvant for vaccines.
“The Hp91 peptide sequence corresponds to HMGB1, which is released by cells in the body as a danger signal. Hp91 provides Batu with a highly novel and effective method of supercharging the efficacy of its anti-angiogenic lung cancer vaccine, ValloVax, without the severe toxicities associated with other readily available immune stimulants,” said Davorka Messmer, lead inventor and former UC San Diego faculty member. “This platform provides Batu with a method to enhance immune function synergistically at multiple stages of the immune response and possibly work to boost immunity to several cancers.”
Most immune-stimulating drugs currently utilized in cancer therapy are composed of recombinant proteins, which are extremely difficult to produce, exhibit wide variation in efficacy from patient to patient, and are expensive to manufacture. In contrast, peptides are much less expensive to manufacture than proteins, and due to their small size have more predictable properties when used in patients.
“While several companies have entered the area of lung cancer using various immunotherapies, we believe that we are at an advantage due to the multi-factorial and multi-dimensional approach that we are pursuing for cancer therapeutics,” said Hong Ma, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of Batu Biologics. “Lung cancer is a devastating disease, but it is also an extremely complex disease that targets the body in multiple ways. By acquiring various cutting edge technologies and integrating them in a synergistic fashion we have a real shot at making a difference in the lives of lung cancer patients.”
About Batu Biologics:
Batu Biologics is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on developing and commercializing allogeneic cell therapies in the area of immune modulation. The company’s products are centered around the idea of creating or breaking immune tolerance. The company is currently in the preclinical stages of drug development for its two flagship products: Immstem™ and ValloVax™. Batu Biologics has filed four provisional patents in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Recently, Batu Biologics published a novel method of decreasing toxicity of immunotherapy in peer-reviewed literature with Dr. Francesco Marincola, president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, as well as several other internationally-renowned immunotherapists.
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