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Biomunex Enters Exclusive Licensing Agreement with Institut Curie to Develop MAIT Engagers, a New Class of Bispecific Antibodies in Immuno-oncology

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Biomunex Pharmaceuticals, a prominent French biopharmaceutical company specializing in developing cutting-edge therapies for cancer treatment, has announced a significant agreement with Institut Curie. This agreement involves an exclusive license and exploitation arrangement for a new class of antibodies designed to target and activate MAIT cells, a type of non-conventional T cell, to combat cancer cells. Biomunex, previously a co-inventor and co-owner of this technology, now holds full global rights to it.

MAIT cells, first identified in 1999 by Dr. Olivier Lantz of Institut Curie, are potent cytotoxic T cells found mainly in mucosal and barrier tissues. They possess the ability to proliferate, migrate, and infiltrate solid tumors.

Biomunex aims to leverage these unique properties to develop MAIT engagers, a novel class of antibodies that redirect MAIT lymphocytes to eliminate cancer cells, particularly in solid tumors. This approach is expected to reduce toxicity and mitigate the risk of adverse effects commonly associated with current immunotherapies.

Additionally, MAIT cells express the MDR-12 protein on their surface, which provides resistance to certain chemotherapies. This characteristic allows for potential combination therapy or sequential use with chemotherapy, offering advantages over other treatment approaches.

The development of this innovative approach has been facilitated through collaborations with Institut Curie's Cancer Immunotherapy Center, led by Dr. Sebastian Amigorena and Dr. Olivier Lantz's team.

Biomunex plans to initiate Phase 1 clinical trials to evaluate its first MAIT engager in treating solid tumors with high unmet medical needs, such as colorectal, liver, gastric, lung, and esophageal cancers. Currently, Biomunex is advancing two MAIT engager programs in the preclinical stage, with several others in discovery.

Dr. Pierre-Emmanuel Gerard, CEO of Biomunex, expressed satisfaction with the agreement, highlighting Institut Curie's partnership and the potential for advancing MAIT engagers. Dr. Simon Plyte, Biomunex's Chief Scientific Officer, emphasized the company's leadership in the MAIT engager field.

Dr. Sebastian Amigorena emphasized the importance of innovative immunotherapy in oncology, while Dr. Olivier Lantz expressed confidence in the agreement's potential to benefit patients.



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