PureTech and BI to advance immune-oncology product candidates

Researchers develop ‘genomic barcode tracker’ for immune cells
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ anyaivanova

PureTech Health will leverage its propriety lymphatic targeting technology for immune modulation to develop novel product candidates through a research collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim.

As well as receiving up to $26 million, PureTech Health is also eligible to receive more than $200 million in development and sales milestones, in addition to royalties on product sales.

The collaboration will initially focus on applying PureTech’s lymphatic targeting technology to an immuno-oncology product candidate designated by Boehringer Ingelheim.

“We see great promise in leveraging PureTech’s platform to target the lymphatic system and deliver therapeutic candidates directly to the lymph nodes responsible for priming, educating and proliferating immune cells,” said Clive Wood, global head of discovery research at Boehringer Ingelheim.

“The approach is a potentially powerful tool for modulating the immune system and may allow us to improve efficacy and reduce systematic toxicities through precise targeting.”

The partnership leverages the potential of the proprietary lymphatic targeting platform that PureTech Health is developing through its internal R&D division.

The approach harnesses the gut’s lipid transport mechanisms to enable oral administration and transport of drug candidates directly through the gut-draining lymphatic vasculature, also bypassing first pass metabolism in the liver.

More specifically, the therapeutic candidates are directed to the mesenteric lymph nodes, which program as many as 70% of circulating adaptive immune cells.

By targeting the lymphatic system directly, the technology has the potential to achieve more effective and precise immunomodulation of local tissues, while sparing the patient from the risks of extensive systemic exposure to the drug.

PureTech’s lymphatic targeting approach, which is based on the research of Chris Porter, Director of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) at Monash University, can potentially be applied to therapeutic molecules across a range of physiochemical properties and holds promise for the development of novel therapeutics for gastrointestinal, central nervous system, and autoimmune diseases as well as cancer.

The research collaboration will focus first on using this approach to administer an immuno-oncology candidate for gastrointestinal (GI) cancers directly to the gut lymphatics.

About 70% of immune cells reside in lymphatic tissues associated with the GI tract, so targeting immunomodulatory agents with this approach could potentially tune both systemic and local immunity.

Once the product candidates enter the development stage, Boehringer Ingelheim will assume full responsibility for development and PureTech Health will be eligible for various developmental and sales milestones in addition to royalties on product sales.