The company has announced new positive preclinical data which defines a novel additional development opportunity for Cantargias antibody CAN04.
The molecular target for CAN04, IL1RAP, has been detected on the cancer cells in approximately 80 % of patients with bladder cancer. Furthermore, a pronounced and statistically significant single agent activity was documented in an in vivo model of the disease. Given current treatment strategies of bladder cancer, there are several future opportunities for CAN04 in this disease.
Cantargia’s antibody CAN04 binds IL1RAP with high affinity and functions through both Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytotoxicity and blockade of interleukin 1 signaling. CAN04 is investigated in phase IIa clinical development for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and pancreatic cancer (PDAC).
Tumor samples from 15 patients
The new data was generated using immunohistochemistry in tumor samples from 15 patients. IL1RAP was found in the tumor microenvironment in all samples and approximately 80 % of the patients contained IL1RAP positive cancer cells. Single agent in vivo antitumor activity has previously been documented with CAN04 in e.g. NSCLC models performed in mice lacking a functional immune system. The new in vivo data in bladder cancer was obtained in a mouse model with a functional immune system, which is important to understand the full effects of immune modifying therapies such as CAN04. The cancer cells in this model overexpress IL1RAP and the antitumor activity observed was more pronounced than observed in previous models.
Local treatment of bladder cancer using immune therapy is one opportunity for CAN04 and a second is based on the combination of cisplatin and gemcitabine often used as chemotherapy to treat the disease. Cantargia has recently presented preclinical data showing a synergy between CAN04 and this treatment regime. The synergy is manifested both as increased antitumor efficacy as well as less side effects from the chemotherapy. The ongoing CANFOUR clinical trial investigates CAN04 with this combination. Once safety data has been established, the combination may be investigated in other cancer forms.
“Cantargia’s current focus for CAN04 is NSCLC and PDAC. Once the program advances, there are opportunities to expand development in several other forms of cancer. Bladder cancer has become an obvious disease to investigate in the future,” says Göran Forsberg, Cantargia’s CEO.