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Targeting leukocyte metabolism to treat human autoimmune disease

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R44AI138725-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44AI138725
Amount: $2,987,732.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: R
Solicitation Number: PA17-302
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-08-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-07-31
Small Business Information
1 MEDICAL CENTER DR
Lebanon, NH 03756-1000
United States
DUNS: 967719241
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 JAY ROTHSTEIN
 (206) 310-0019
 drrothstein@immunext.com
Business Contact
 DAVID DELUCIA
Phone: (603) 321-6623
Email: delucia@immunext.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

ImmuNext has defined an anti-MCT1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) that will be developed for the treatment of
human autoimmune disease. The membrane monocarboxylate nutrient transporter SLC16A1 (MCT1) is a
multi-pass transmembrane protein responsible for the facilitated transport of critical metabolites, including
products of glycolysis: lactate, pyruvate and ketones. Our strong preliminary data support the tenet that mAbs
that block MCT1 transport of monocarboxylates (including lactate) from activated lymphocytes will attenuate
key inflammatory effector functions, thereby suppressing immune function and safely treat human autoimmune
diseases. We show the unique advantage of mab approaches over that of small molecules that are toxic and
lack transporter specificity. The mechanism of MCT1 inhibition to reduce proliferation and cytokine production
from lymphoid, but not myeloid cells is a unique approach and data suggest that its modulation is best suited
for SLE treatment, where nontoxic drugs that target both T and B cells are lacking.With a strong patent position, state-of-the-art approaches and a skilled, experienced drug development
team, a first-in-class, therapeutic mab that selectively ablates lymphoid metabolism for the treatment of
autoimmune disease will be developed. In Phase 1, we will humanize the rat anti-MCT1 antibody and select
mab leads for Phase 2. We currently have both a human CD3/CD28-activated T cell assay for our primary
screen and a secondary MCT1 toxin transport assay for lead antibody selection. Our choice of the lead
therapeutic antibody will be determined from: 1) IC50 determinations using in vitro lymphocyte assays and 2)
by quantifying the in vivo potency in a xeno-GVHD model (human PBMC → NSG mice). After selection of the
lead antibody and a backup, we will advance into Phase 2 with lead optimization and pre-clinical development.
The lead will be assessed for immunogenicity and manufacturing properties. PK will be determined and we will
expand upon our existing ketone PD biomarkers to inform future clinical plans using a variety of approaches,
including metabolomics, cytokine analysis and RNA-seq. By examining the mechanism-of-action using human
SLE patient samples compared to healthy controls and using established transport and immunological assays,
we will identify additional biomarkers for patient stratification in the planned clinical trials.With a qualified lead in hand, we will commence cell line development and non-GLP PK/PD/toxicological
studies in cynomolgus non-human primates. We have convened a panel of experts that will help collect,
analyze and process the data generated from these studies to assist in outlining an IND-enabling GLP tox
study and a clinical strategy going forward.Our first-in-class anti-MCT1 mAb will ultimately provide patients with a unique immunometabolic targeting
drug that will not only treat their symptoms, but also abrogate ongoing disease and synergize with existing
therapies to provide long term remission and cure.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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