Earlier this summer Immunicum announced a corporate rebranding and name change to Mendus and most recently the company reported financing commitments totaling up to 250 million SEK. NLS asked Erik Manting, CEO, about what lies ahead.
What opportunities do you have on the market for cancer immunotherapy?
“Many cancer patients today experience an initial treatment success. However, tumor recurrence remains a constant threat and actually causes the vast majority of cancer-related deaths. As a result, there is an increasing need for maintenance therapies, particularly in tumors with a high recurrence rate.”
“By boosting anti-tumor immunity we aim to provide for improved control over residual disease, while preserving health and quality of life.”
“The search for maintenance therapy options that focus on controlling residual disease and prolonging disease-free and overall survival is receiving more and more attention and will continue to grow. The immune system offers unique possibilities to achieve these goals and by boosting anti-tumor immunity we aim to provide improved control over residual disease, while preserving health and quality of life.”
What is your business strategy moving forward with the company?
“Mendus will continue to apply its world-leading expertise in dendritic cell biology and immunology to establish a robust pipeline of cancer therapies. Our DCOne platform has delivered a Phase II program in AML maintenance and a Phase I program in ovarian cancer, and our intratumoral priming strategy has likewise delivered promising results in the clinic.”
“Evaluating combination strategies and synergies of our platform with other immune cells like NK cells, cell and gene therapies such as CAR-T, and checkpoint inhibitors are some things we are looking into.”
“Executing our development plans and ramping up our manufacturing capabilities for a swift transition into the next phase will be key. That said, we will continue to innovative in the oncology field, both with partners and on our own. Evaluating combination strategies and synergies of our platform with other immune cells like NK cells, cell and gene therapies such as CAR-T, and checkpoint inhibitors are some things we are looking into.”
What news can we expect from Mendus this fall and next year?
“H2 2022 will be very much focused on delivering key clinical read-outs and establishing the manufacturing capabilities needed for continued development of our pipeline. Our main R&D hub in Leiden, where Mendus’ process management and manufacturing division will grow under the supervision of our new CTO, Leopold Bertea, is making steady progress.”
“With regards to our lead program DCP-001 in AML maintenance, we expect more mature data on key survival outcomes from the ADVANCE II trial in Q4. The data will further substantiate how the positive effects we have seen on the measurable residual disease status of patients translates into prolonged relapse-free and overall survival.”
“As we communicated with our Q2 results, the first clinical results from our ALISON study in ovarian cancer were also accepted for presentation at one of the most important medical conferences in this sector – the annual congress of the European Society of Gynaecological Oncology.”
The rebranding reflects an advancing pipeline in next generation cancer immunotherapies, upcoming manufacturing expansion, and long-term corporate aspirations, states the company.
“The name Mendus captures our continued commitment to develop therapies that delay or reduce cases of cancer recurrence, while preserving the quality of life of people living with cancer.“
“Today’s news marks an exciting step in a transformative period for the company. Initiated with the merger and integration of Immunicum and DCprime and accelerated by subsequent directional pipeline decisions and promising novel R&D initiatives, these developments have resulted in a multi-faceted and broader long-term vision for the Company. The name Mendus captures our continued commitment to develop therapies that delay or reduce cases of cancer recurrence, while preserving the quality of life of people living with cancer,“ said Erik Manting, CEO, Mendus, after the announcement. ”As we move forward in this new phase of important growth, we look forward to continuing our dedicated work in the development of safe and effective cell-based therapies that we believe can significantly decrease the chance of cancer relapse and improve overall survival.”
Photo of Erik Manting: Mendus