Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) today announced an agreement with Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN) (TASE: CGEN), a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company and a pioneer in computational target discovery, headquartered in Holon, Israel, to exclusively license its potential first-in-class, pre-clinical antibody program against IL-18 binding protein, including the COM503 drug candidate.
Compugen utilizes its broadly applicable predictive computational discovery capabilities to identify new drug targets and biological pathways for developing novel cancer immunotherapies. COM503 is a potential first-in-class, high affinity antibody which blocks the interaction between IL-18 binding protein and IL-18, thereby releasing natural IL-18 in the tumor microenvironment and inhibiting cancer growth.
“We are very pleased to add COM503 to our pipeline of investigational immuno-oncology therapies that have the potential to transform care for patients with cancer,” said Flavius Martin, M.D., Executive Vice President, Research, Gilead Sciences. “We believe that this collaboration complements our strategy of developing modalities which promote immune-mediated tumor killing and may enable new combination therapies with programs in our growing oncology portfolio.”
“We are delighted to enter into this collaboration with Gilead and believe that Gilead’s confidence in our differentiated approach to harness cytokine biology for cancer therapeutics speaks to the quality of our computational discovery capabilities as well as our ability to translate our novel discoveries into investigational drugs in the clinic and we look forward to working together to bring new treatment options to patients,” said Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., President, and CEO at Compugen. “IL-18 is one of the rare cytokines which is naturally inhibited by an endogenous binding protein, presenting a unique opportunity to use a blocking antibody to increase the local concentrations of IL-18 within the tumor where it can potentiate anti-tumor immune responses, thereby potentially overcoming the limitations of systemically administered cytokines.”