New Immunotherapy for Stem Cell Transplant to be Introduced at Biotechnology Convention

New Immunotherapy for Stem Cell Transplant to be Introduced at Biotechnology Convention

Xenikos B.V. will discuss its lead product candidate T-Guard, designed for acute graft versus host disease (GVHD), at the BIO International Convention 2016, June 6-9, in San Francisco, Calif.

Transplantation of allogenic (donor-derived) blood stem cells is a common and widely accepted procedure used to restore the normal production of blood cells in patients who received chemotherapy for blood cancers that include lymphoma, or who have defective immunity or blood formation.

Every year, approximately 30,000 patients worldwide receive allogenic stem cell transplants, but about 50 percent develop acute GVHD in which the donor-derived T cells (cell from the immune system) attack the patient’s normal cells and tissues. Patients who develop the complication often do not respond to first-line therapies because of poor prognosis and high mortality rates. To date,  no second-line treatment exists.

Xenikos’ T-Guard is currently being developed for the second-line treatment of steroid-resistant acute GVHD. The treatment consists of two toxin-loaded anti-T-cell antibodies that specifically identify and eliminate adult T cells, preferentially the activated ones,  which safely resets the body’s immune system. This immunotherapy may be helpful for other immune conditions that include autoimmune diseases, transplant-related rejection, and acute solid-organ rejection.

Because T-Guard has a short half-life and is very specific to activated T cells and leaves bystander immune cells unharmed, it is thought to decrease a patient’s vulnerability to opportunistic infections, when compared to currently available treatment options.

T-Guard is currently being tested in Europe for the second-line treatment of steroid-resistant acute GVHD in Phase 1/2 trials, where the treatment’s safety, tolerability, and efficacy will be assessed. Preliminary results have revealed an increase in the patient’s overall survival from six to twelve months without severe reactions, compared to current therapies.

Ypke van Oosterhout, chief executive officer of Xenikos, said in a press release that the company is looking forward to sharing information about T-Guard with industry experts and “key opinion leaders” at BIO International Convention 2016.

“We have seen a high level of interest in our Company and T-Guard by a number of pharmaceutical companies and look forward to evaluating further development opportunities, as we strongly believe that this innovative approach can help restore patients’ health and save lives,” van Oosterhout said.

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