IMP761 targets a receptor found on the surface of immune system T-cells called lymphocyte-activation gene 3, or LAG-3. This receptor helps to prevent T-cells from turning hyperactive and attacking healthy tissue, but its activity appears altered in some autoimmune disorders.
“IMP761 is the first agonist antibody that targets the immune checkpoint LAG-3 and aims to treat the root cause of autoimmune diseases such as, for example, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis,” Marc Voigt, CEO of Immutep, said in a press release.
As an agonist, IMP761 activates LAG-3, inducing it to generate an even stronger inhibitory signal that should hold in check autoimmune T-cells.
Immutep has reported promising preclinical results in lab-grown cells and in a non-human primate model. Researchers confirmed that IMP761 selectively targets LAG-3, reducing T-cell proliferation and activation in the presence of substances that stimulate an immune response.
Results from the primate study indicated that IMP761 was both safe and well tolerated.
The patent, number 3344654 and titled “Anti-LAG-3 Antibodies,” expires on Sept. 1, 2036. It covers IMP761, and its use in the treatment of T-cell mediated inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
“It is very pleasing to see the grant of this patent in the important European market which will underpin ongoing investment in this promising product candidate,” Voigt said.
Immutep announced in April that the company had, in collaboration with Batavia Biosciences, established a pharmaceutical-grade and stable cell line — a lineage of lab-grown cells that can propagate indefinitely — that produces significant quantities of IMP761.
The company also announced at that time it is adapting its manufacturing operations to comply with good manufacturing practices (GMP), which must be in place before a potential medicine can be tested in humans. GMP refers to a quality control system meant to ensure that all batches of a product consistently adhere to a certain standard.
“There continues to be a significant unmet medical need for patients with various autoimmune diseases and so it is highly encouraging to see the recent progress being made with IMP761 towards clinical development, both in terms of cell line development … and now with securing intellectual property protection,” said Frédéric Triebel, MD, PhD, Immutep’s chief scientific and medical officer.
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