Rooted in the pioneering research of its scientific founder, Prof. Daniel Olive, ImCheck Therapeutics is developing a pipeline of protein therapeutic candidates targeting butyrophilins, a new superfamily of immunomodulator molecules. Its first clinical trial will be to evaluate its lead program ICT01, which targets BTN3A to activate γ9δ2 T cells, a subpopulation of unexploited killer lymphocytes.
With these novel approaches that target both the innate and adaptive immunity, ImCheck Therapeutics aims to extend the benefits of effective immunotherapy to more patients, more cancers and more diseases.
At the turn of the 21st century, work in Daniel Olive’s laboratory largely contributed to the discovery and understanding of the butyrophilins. Today, ImCheck Therapeutics is developing a series of programs to target different members of this family, of which the most advanced target is BTN3A, the main activator of γ9δ2 T cells. Importantly, BTN3A is overexpressed in various solid and hematological cancers and is often associated with a good prognosis.
Two programs targeting BTN3A are currently in development at ImCheck: an activating antibody for the treatment of cancers (program ICT01), and an antagonist antibody for the treatment of auto-immune diseases (program ICT21). ImCheck’s early-staged preclinical pipeline includes therapeutic antibodies targeting other members of the BTN/BTNL family (ICT03-ICT08) and have been designed to inhibit or activate different immune subsets (among them γ9δ2 T cells) that play a vital role in both immune-oncology (IO) and autoimmune disease (AID). All ImCheck’s programs have the therapeutic goal to strengthen the immune system to battle cancer as well as to interfere in different autoimmune diseases.
Arnett HA & Viney JL, 2014 Immune modulation by butyrophilins.
Nat Rev Immunol
Afrache et al, 2012 The butyrophilin (BTN) gene family: from milk fat to the regulation of the immune response.