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Noessner Lab | Helmholtz Munich

Medigene Expands Helmholtz Munich IP Rights for its Costimulatory Switch Proteins to Additional Immune Cell Types


In collaboration with Helmholtz Munich, Medigene is expanding its portfolio of costimulatory switch proteins in the field of cancer immunotherapy. By expanding the license field, these specialized proteins, initially developed by Helmholtz Munich, can now be applied in a broader range of cell types and Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies. This development offers new possibilities for addressing cancer malignancies.

Medigene AG, an immuno-oncology platform company focusing on the discovery and development of T cell immunotherapies for solid tumors, has expanded the IP license for the PD1-41BB and CD40L-CD28 costimulatory switch proteins, enabling their application to additional cell types and for use in Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies. Medigene’s PD1-41BB and CD40L-CD28 costimulatory switch protein technologies were developed by Prof. Dr. Elfriede Nößner, leading the Immunoanalytics Group at Helmholtz Munich and are exclusively licensed to Medigene.

Elfriede Nößner explains the background behind the development of these proteins: “Over 10 years ago, with the advent of molecular engineering techniques, I thought it should be possible to avert the negative signals, which T cells encounter in the microenvironment of solid cancer, to stimulatory ones. I charted various chimeric proteins using the knowledge about the T cell’s needs to perform anti-tumor activity. It is utterly gratifying to observe that some of these scientific creations now seem to become useful in clinical application and patient benefit.“

With the expansion of the IP license, Medigene significantly enhances the potential use of both costimulatory switch proteins, which are currently combined with the Company’s specific, sensitive and safe T cell receptors (TCRs), across various cell types beyond T cells. This provides an opportunity to leverage the advantages of other immune cells and enhance the tumor cell-killing activity, proliferation and persistence of its TCR-based therapies.

In addition, this IP license expansion enables Medigene to potentially enhance the efficacy of CAR-T therapies in patients who relapse and do not respond adequately to earlier lines of therapy due to the upregulation of PD-L1 in certain cancers.

“We are very pleased to continue our excellent collaboration with Helmholtz Munich and expand our IP license, enabling us to extend the anti-tumor enhancements of our PD1-41BB and CD40L-CD28 costimulatory switch proteins, in additional cell types beyond TCR-T therapies,” said Dr. Selwyn Ho, Chief Executive Officer at Medigene. “Further, the expansion of this IP license fits well with our mid to long term strategy of focusing on the treatment of solid tumors. We also aim to selectively partner this technology with companies with demonstrated CAR-T expertise to further develop this novel therapeutic approach. This may open up opportunities for new treatment modalities that could help address current unmet needs in difficult-to-treat malignancies.”

News adapted from Medigene


More information about CAR-T cells

CAR-T cells are a type of immunotherapy where T cells are genetically engineered to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) which are tumor reactive antibodies fused to signaling domains of αβT cells. This process provides both antigen-binding and T cell activating functions against fixed surface antigens on tumor cells. Multiple clinical trials have shown the therapeutic potential of this approach, leading to several approved products for various indications. Improving existing CAR-T therapies may be beneficial for novel therapeutic approaches, specifically in relapsed and/or non-B cell or non-plasma cell diseases where there is significant unmet need for additional treatment options.