Friday, February 21, 2020
Hummingbird Bioscience, an innovative biotherapeutics company pioneering the discovery of new breakthrough antibody therapeutics for difficult-to-treat conditions, today announced it has signed an agreement with Mycenax Biotech for the production of material for the Phase 1 clinical trial of its HMBD-002 program which is anticipated to commence in the second half of 2020.
HMBD-002 is an anti-VISTA antibody developed for solid tumors that are unresponsive to existing treatments. VISTA is a new and important target for cancer as it strongly suppresses the activation of the body's anti-tumor immune response. The presence of VISTA cells is frequently associated with the emergence of tumors and resistance to current cancer immunotherapies.
HMBD-002 uniquely blocks VISTA's activation, turning off the signal that keeps immune cells dormant. Critically, unlike other investigational anti-VISTA agents, HMBD-002 does not remove VISTA expressing cells from the body, thus allowing many of these cells to become active tumor-killing cells. Pre-clinical studies have shown that HMBD-002 can strongly inhibit tumor growth, both as a monotherapy and even more potently when combined with anti-PD(L)1 treatment.
"We are very pleased to be working with Mycenax, a pioneering provider of high-quality biologics, for the production of our anti-VISTA antibody, HMBD-002. This contract takes us one step closer to realizing the goal of more effective immunotherapies for a broader population of individuals with cancer," said Dr Jerome Boyd-Kirkup, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder, Hummingbird Bioscience.
"We think HMBD-002 has great therapeutic potential and we are honored and excited to work with Hummingbird Bioscience on this project. We are committed to providing professional and customized service to facilitate the progress of the project. We are optimistic that, with our expertise and capability in CMC and production, HMBD-002 will be able to enter clinical trials and show therapeutic benefits soon," said Dr Pei-Jiun Chen, CEO and President of Mycenax.
Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Following completion of manufacturing in Texas, an Investigational New Drug application will be submitted to the FDA to commence clinical trial. The development of HMBD-002 into the clinic is supported by a grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT).