Pharma Focus America

Kanvas Biosciences Launches a Novel Drug Candidate for Its Immuno-oncology Program

Friday, June 21, 2024

Kanvas Biosciences, a company specializing in spatial biology, has introduced its latest drug candidate, KAN-003, within its Immuno-oncology Program. The Kanvas platform uniquely maps interactions between the host and microbiome, utilizing this data to design live biotherapeutic products (LBPs). These LBPs aim to create new microbiome-based therapies that complement existing treatments, offering safer and more effective ways to target underlying disease processes.

KAN-001, the company's lead drug candidate, is an LBP that has shown significant potential to improve outcomes for cancer patients who do not respond well to immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). KAN-003 is being developed as a consistent dosing regimen for cancer patients to use alongside ICI treatments.

ICIs are a type of immunotherapy used to combat various cancers, including malignant melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer, classical Hodgkin lymphoma, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, urothelial carcinoma, and renal cell carcinoma. They work by blocking checkpoint proteins, which allows T cells to effectively attack cancer cells. However, only 20 - 40% of patients respond to ICI therapy. For those whose cancers do not respond, fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs) are sometimes considered. FMT involves transferring a healthy individual's microbial ecosystem to another person, typically via colonoscopy. Despite potential benefits, FMTs face challenges in scalability, risks of pathogen transfer, and generally provide only a single dose.

To enhance the effectiveness of FMTs, Kanvas has developed its own pipeline of microbiome-based drugs. With KAN-003, the company aims to significantly increase the percentage of patients who respond to ICI therapy across all approved cancer types. Both KAN-001 and KAN-003 are currently undergoing preclinical studies in collaboration with The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and its Platform for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research (PRIME-TR). While KAN-003 differs from KAN-001 in donor source and microbial ecosystem, their manufacturing strategies are identical, allowing Kanvas to scale production rapidly and leverage insights gained.

Kanvas Biosciences, highlighted, "There's no single cure for cancer, but every patient deserves safe and effective treatment options. Designed as an earlier treatment, KAN-003 holds promise to generate earlier responses and potentially stabilize or induce remission in ICI-naive patients." Cheng emphasized the significance of understanding the complex interactions of the gut microbiome with human health, drawing attention to the potential demonstrated by FMT treatments in microbiome-based therapeutics. With KAN-001 and now KAN-003, Kanvas aims to advance Immuno-oncology and improve patient outcomes.

Kanvas is preparing a pre-Investigational New Drug (IND) filing for KAN-003 in Q3 2025 and is actively seeking partners interested in supporting rigorous clinical studies in the years ahead. For more information, interested parties are encouraged to contact the company directly.



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