IOME Bio, a seed stage biotechnology company focused on overcoming tumour resistance to immune checkpoint inhibition, has published its foundational research by founders Dr Arlene Sharpe and Dr Dennis Kasper in Nature.
By providing evidence of its therapeutic relevance, it reveals insights into the importance of the RGMb/PD-L2 pathway in immunotherapy resistance and further strengthens the significance of IOME Bio’s bispecific antibody therapy approach, which targets RGMb (Repulsive Guidance Molecule b).
This study has demonstrated that a new pathway involving RGMb and PD-L2 is highly immunosuppressive, therefore affecting the efficacy of current immunotherapies. IOME Bio continues to collaborate with the Sharpe and Kasper labs through sponsored research and has an exclusive license to intellectual property stemming from their discoveries.
Professor Gordon Freeman at the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute is also a key collaborator and contributor. All three professors have been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences.
Although immune checkpoint inhibitors have already made an impact in cancer treatment, most patients either fail to achieve a response or experience relapse. The Nature publication reveals the previously unrecognised role of the RGMb molecule in regulating the body’s response against cancer cells. RGMb, primarily known for its role in tolerance, is also found on the surface of cancer-fighting T cells. Until now, its role in regulating T cell responses to cancer immunotherapy was unknown. The researchers demonstrated that the interaction between RGMb and PD-L2 interferes with the anti-tumour response. Blocking either RGMb or PD-L2 with antibodies combined with an anti-PD-1/L1 consistently led to a robust anti-tumour response across several models and was able to overcome resistance to PD-1 or PD-L1 antibodies.
In harnessing these proprietary immunosuppression insights, IOME Bio intends to unlock the efficacy of immuno-oncology with its first-in-class anti-RGMb-based bispecific antibodies designed to address cancer resistance.
“We are delighted with the international recognition of this research led by Arlene Sharpe and Dennis Kasper, as well as Gordon Freeman,” said Eric Rambeaux, CEO of IOME Bio. “Thanks to the fruitful and ongoing collaboration with the team, and seed financing from Quark Venture and Seventure, IOME Bio has been able to successfully and quickly develop several bispecific programs around RGMb, currently at candidate selection stage. The company is now in the process of raising series A financing to further develop this programme and advance it into the clinical stages.”