Thursday, April 18, 2019
PureTech Health plc, an advanced biopharmaceutical company developing novel medicines for dysfunctions of the Brain-Immune-Gut (BIG) axis, today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim to develop novel product candidates for an undisclosed number of targets by leveraging PureTech’s proprietary lymphatic targeting technology for immune modulation. Under terms of the agreement, PureTech Health will receive up to $26 million, including upfront payments, research support, and preclinical milestones, and is eligible to receive more than $200 million in development and sales milestones, in addition to royalties on product sales. The collaboration will initially focus on applying PureTech’s lymphatic targeting technology to an immuno-oncology product candidate designated by Boehringer Ingelheim.
“We see great promise in leveraging PureTech’s platform to target the lymphatic system and deliver therapeutic candidates directly to the lymph nodes responsible for priming, educating and proliferating immune cells,” said Clive Wood, PhD, global head of discovery research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “The approach is a potentially powerful tool for modulating the immune system and may allow us to improve efficacy and reduce systematic toxicities through precise targeting.”
The partnership leverages the potential of the proprietary lymphatic targeting platform that PureTech Health is developing through its internal R&D division. The approach harnesses the gut’s lipid transport mechanisms to enable oral administration and transport of drug candidates directly through the gut-draining lymphatic vasculature, also bypassing first pass metabolism in the liver. More specifically, the therapeutic candidates are directed to the mesenteric lymph nodes, which program as many as 70 percent of circulating adaptive immune cells. By targeting the lymphatic system directly, the technology has the potential to achieve more effective and precise immunomodulation of local tissues, while sparing the patient from the risks of extensive systemic exposure to the drug. PureTech’s lymphatic targeting approach, which is based on the research of Chris Porter, PhD, Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) at Monash University, can potentially be applied to therapeutic molecules across a range of physiochemical properties and holds promise for the development of novel therapeutics for gastrointestinal, central nervous system, and autoimmune diseases as well as cancer.
“This collaboration signals the exciting potential of another proprietary platform from our internal R&D to enable novel immunotherapy approaches by harnessing the lymphatic system’s capacity for immune cell trafficking and immunomodulation,” said Daphne Zohar, co-founder and chief executive officer of PureTech Health. “We look forward to working with the excellent scientific teams at Boehringer Ingelheim to advance this important program, which has the potential to greatly expand therapeutic options for patients with cancer.”
The research collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim will focus first on using this approach to administer an immuno-oncology candidate for gastrointestinal (GI) cancers directly to the gut lymphatics. About 70 percent of immune cells reside in lymphatic tissues associated with the GI tract, so targeting immunomodulatory agents with this approach could potentially tune both systemic and local immunity. Once the product candidates enter the development stage, Boehringer Ingelheim will assume full responsibility for development and PureTech Health will be eligible for various developmental and sales milestones in addition to royalties on product sales.