LEXINGTON, Mass., Jan. 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Agenus Inc. (NASDAQ: AGEN), an immuno-oncology company with an extensive pipeline of checkpoint antibodies, cell therapies, adjuvants, and vaccines designed to activate immune response to cancers and infections, today announced that it has entered into a clinical collaboration with Nelum Corp. to evaluate the safety and efficacy of zalifrelimab, Agenus’ anti-CTLA-4 antibody, in combination with NLM-001, Nelum’s small molecule hedgehog inhibitor, and chemotherapy for first-line advanced pancreatic cancer.
“This collaboration with Nelum is an exciting next step in our partnership strategy to broaden combinations and indications with our late stage checkpoint antibodies,” said Julie DeSander, Vice President of Business Development and Alliance Management. “Zalifrelimab, our first generation anti-CTLA-4 antibody, shows promising results alone and in combination with balstilimab, our anti-PD-1 antibody, and offers the potential to expand therapeutic benefit in novel combinations.”
Nelum’s NLM-001 is a best-in-class small-molecule hedgehog inhibitor that targets cancer-associated fibroblasts. It synergizes with checkpoint inhibitors by promoting immune cell infiltration into the tumor microenvironment and increases tumor penetration of chemotherapy. NLM-001 is active and well-tolerated in patients with solid tumors, as demonstrated in a Phase I study.
“NLM-001 is designed to disrupt the tumor microenvironment for increased responsiveness to checkpoint inhibition and improved delivery of chemotherapy,” said Evelio Perea, Chairman of the Board of Nelum. “We look forward to evaluating NLM-001 in combination with Agenus’ checkpoint inhibitor zalifrelimab to expand therapeutic options for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Agenus will supply zalifrelimab to Nelum for the combination study. Nelum will sponsor and be responsible for the conduct of the trial, which is set to begin enrolling in 1H21.
Agenus is a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company focused on the discovery and development of therapies that engage the body's immune system to fight cancer. The Company's vision is to expand the patient populations benefiting from cancer immunotherapy by pursuing combination approaches that leverage a broad repertoire of antibody therapeutics, adoptive cell therapies (through its AgenTus Therapeutics subsidiary), and proprietary cancer vaccine platforms. The Company is equipped with a suite of antibody discovery platforms and a state-of-the-art GMP manufacturing facility with the capacity to support clinical programs. Agenus is headquartered in Lexington, MA. For more information, please visit www.agenusbio.com and our Twitter handle @agenus_bio. Information that may be important to investors will be routinely posted on our website and Twitter.
Nelum Corp. is a US-based, clinical stage biopharmaceutical company that is developing first-in-class and best-in-class patented drugs with a focus on unmet clinical needs. Nelum’s NLM-001 is a best-in-class small molecule hedgehog inhibitor that targets cancer-associated fibroblasts.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the federal securities laws, including statements regarding the anticipated benefits of the Nelum collaboration, the anticipated timing of the combination trial with zalifrelimab and NLM-001, and the therapeutic potential of zalifrelimab in novel combinations. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include, among others, the factors described under the Risk Factors section of our most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Agenus cautions investors not to place considerable reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. These statements speak only as of the date of this press release, and Agenus undertakes no obligation to update or revise the statements, other than to the extent required by law. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.