Immutep signs exclusive license agreement with Cardiff University for anti-LAG-3 molecules

Immutep (ASX:IMM) has announced a license agreement with Cardiff University, securing the company exclusive rights to develop and commercialise anti-LAG-3 small molecules.

A number of promising compounds that block LAG-3, an immune checkpoint known to reduce the immune system’s response to fight cancer, have been identified under Immutep’s collaboration with the world-leading scientists at Cardiff University.

Led by Professor Andrew Godkin of Cardiff University, Professor Andrea Brancale (now of the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague), and Dr Frédéric Triebel, Immutep chief scientific officer, the compounds were identified by chemical library screening, molecular modelling (virtual screening) and synthetic chemistry.

Professor Godkin said, “Our collaboration with Immutep has been exciting and fruitful, resulting in a number of small molecules with the potential to fight cancer by blocking the interaction between LAG-3 on T cells and MHC Class II on antigen-presenting cells. Small molecules represent the next generation of anti-LAG-3 therapies and hold tremendous promise, as they can be given to cancer patients as a convenient oral pill.”

Immutep’s Dr Triebel said, “With our first-in-class MHC Class II agonist, eftilagimod alfa, entering late-stage clinical trials in oncology and IMP761, the world’s first LAG-3 agonist antibody targeting the root cause of autoimmune diseases scheduled to enter the clinic by mid-year, the team at Immutep continues to build on its pioneering leadership position in the LAG-3 therapeutic landscape with this novel program. This License Agreement harnesses many years of collaborative work with the expert team at Cardiff University and enables us to advance the most promising preclinical compounds towards the next stage of development.”

A joint patent application has been filed by Immutep S.A.S. and University College Cardiff Consultants Limited (a Cardiff University affiliate) to protect the new intellectual property.

Immutep said the new license agreement builds on its collaboration with Cardiff University, which commenced in 2019. University College Cardiff Consultants Limited will receive an upfront payment of £25,000 and a milestone payment upon the first commercial sale of a licensed product and is eligible to receive low single-digit sales-based royalties.

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