COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Symphogen today at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Washington DC, presented new preclinical data suggesting that a mixture of antibodies, known as pan-HER, that simultaneously inhibits EGFR, HER2 and HER3, is superior to existing targeted therapies in dealing with both primary and acquired resistance due to HER family dependency. At the poster session on Immune Therapeutics and Monoclonal Antibodies, Johan Lantto, Ph.D., Principal Scientist and Project Leader, concluded that pan-HER represents a novel strategy to address tumor heterogeneity and tumor plasticity (Abstract # 4751/20).
Dr. Lantto also noted that pan-HER is highly efficacious in the presence of EGFR and HER3 ligands, indicating that it is capable of overcoming resistance due to increased ligand production. He said that pan-HER effectively suppresses tumor growth in multiple xenograft models of human cancer, including hard-to-treat, KRAS mutated, patient-derived models of pancreatic cancer, where five out of ten models showed complete tumor stasis or tumor regression in response to pan-HER. The result suggests that pan-HER may be a viable treatment for cancer where few therapeutic options exist.
According to Symphogen Chief Scientific Officer and Medical Officer, Ivan D. Horak, MD, FACP,
“The ability to simultaneously inhibit EGFR, HER2 and HER3 in cancer cells in vitro also translates into broad and efficacious tumor growth suppression in vivo. We have demonstrated that all three target specificities contribute to the efficacy of Sym013 in vivo, and there is a clear synergistic effect of combining HER family target specificities compared to single-receptor targeting”
Pan-HER is a mixture of six monoclonal antibodies targeting EGFR, HER2 and HER3 that effectively induces simultaneous down-modulation of all three targets and prevents compensatory receptor up-regulation. In Symphogen’s research, simultaneous targeting of three receptors has been shown to provide broader efficacy than targeting of a single receptor or any combination of two receptors in the HER family. Deregulation of HER family members plays an important role in the development and progression of human cancer, and EGFR and HER2 are also clinically validated targets in many cancer indications. Accumulating evidence indicates, however, a high degree of HER family cross-talk and compensatory signaling leading to resistance upon therapeutic intervention with one of the receptors.
About Symphogen A/S
Symphogen is developing next-generation antibody therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and is dedicated to bringing truly innovative oncology products to the market. The company has advanced the frontier of antibody discovery by creating well characterized antibody mixtures that address multiple oncology targets in a single drug product. The company has matured its oncology pipeline and has currently brought three programs into the clinic. The company’s productive technology suite – capable of identifying, selecting and manufacturing optimal antibody mixtures – fuels Symphogen’s innovative pipeline. The lead oncology product, Sym004, was out-licensed to Merck KGaA in 2012 following phase 2 clinical data in late stage cancer patients. In total, the company has raised € 208 million in equity capital from premier international investors including Novo, Essex Woodlands Health Ventures and PKA, and employs 90 people, most of whom are based at Symphogen’s facilities in Copenhagen.