Immutep`s chemo-immunotherapy approach to cancer




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Video title: Immutep`s chemo-immunotherapy approach to cancer
Released on: February 09, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Frederic Triebel, Founder of Immutep
The Clinical scientific basis approach of products
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here in Munich at BIO-Europe 2010. On this show I have Frederic Treibel, who is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer of a company called Immutep based in Paris, welcome to the show.
Frederic Treibel:
Right, thank you very much.
Fintan Walton:
Could you tell us about the origin of your company?
Frederic Treibel:
Immutep is a spin-off company of our cancer Institute, Institut Gustave Roussy in France and the Serono company and well we were founded in 2001, we are basically a innovative company, we are developing active immunotherapy product for advance cancer in combination with chemotherapy up to Phase IIa trial. After that we give the product to our partner to engage into randomize trials because we don't have the resource to do that and we are saying it would be a too much you know.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, right. Let's just go back to these to so that's where you are about, but the journey in which you've taken to get to where you are, could you tell us the basis the clinical scientific basis for the approach that you are taking for your products?
Frederic Treibel:
Yes we discovered in the lab into late 90s that a soluble protein called LAG-3Ig could activate dendritic cells and since dendritic cells present antigen to T-cells which will activate dendritic cells it will activate immune response against cancer and now we are moving into first-line treatment, thanks to the possibility to associate our product with chemotherapy and to have access to first-line treatment with patients I think will give good immune response.
Products and preclinical research projects
Fintan Walton:
So tell us about this particular protein obviously you have to clone it and express it and so forth, tell us how that's gone for you?
Frederic Treibel:
So it's a human protein that will activate directly dendritic cells in the vicinity of the tumor and these dendritic cells are antigen representing cells so they represent tumor antigen to T-cells, and we know that T-cells are very important if you want to get longer vision in cancer patients.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so this is obviously your lead product you are taking forward?
Frederic Treibel:
Yes, that's our only product, but we have two other product which are therapeuticantibody and, but these are preclinical research project.
Clinical trials and partnering strategy
Fintan Walton:
Right, now the current product has gone through clinical trials, could you tell us how that's gone and where it is at the moment?
Frederic Treibel:
So the first in human was done in 2005 and since then we have completed seven clinical trials and the best indication we've seen was the product is the chemo immunotherapy approach for metastatic breast cancer our first-line. As you know advance cancer is incurable with a few exceptions and improvement of first-line treatment is a very, is a priority if you want to make a difference in terms of survival.
Fintan Walton:
So you are now looking for a partner for your product?
Frederic Treibel:
Right.
Fintan Walton:
So what type of partner you are looking for and what do you ask them to do next?
Frederic Treibel:
Well as the product could be associated with any chemo for a first-line treatment, so if you think about 10-years ago when we start using passive immunotherapy which are (indiscernable)antibody associated with chemo it has been used now in many, many key communications so we are seeing several randomized Phase IIb trials have to be run and it's a very large market.
Fintan Walton:
Sure , and obviously you are here at BIO-Europe to start talking to some of these companies?
Frederic Treibel:
Right, right we are talking to the usual suspects the big pharma, but also midsize pharma company developing oncology products and there is quite a lot of interest about this new approach developed by Immutep, but also by Pfizer and Merck Serono where they associate active immunotherapy product with chemotherapy.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so this is an expanding field so it's developing?
Frederic Treibel:
Yes, it's a new field, it's active immunotherapy it's not passive immunotherapy, and we are the front of a new class of drug called APC-activator which are Antigen Presenting Cell activator and our product is one of them.
Future growth plans
Fintan Walton:
Right, so what do you see looking forward for your company? What would you like to see happen over the next three to four-years?
Frederic Treibel:
Well that depends a lot about our collaboration with our partner, we would like to seize a product to use as I said in many different clinical indications with different chemotherapy for instance we have a trial running in the US with gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer that's another indication.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so and then that you've also as you said you've got a couple of therapeuticsantibodies which are in preclinical stage?
Frederic Treibel:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
So what are the plans for those particular products?
Frederic Treibel:
While one of them will be spun out to a large pharma and this will be announced in a month from now and the second one is we are looking for a partner as well.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and ultimately what is Immutep going to be, is it going to be a speciality company?
Frederic Treibel:
Well yes, we are going to stay as we are, a small company, a innovative company we don't want to be engaged into Phase III trials this takes too many resources and in a sense it will kill the spirit of innovation.
Fintan Walton:
Frederic Treibel, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Frederic Treibel:
Thank you for inviting me.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Frederic Treibel
Chief Medical Officer
Frederic Treibel , was Professor in Immunology and Biotechnology at Paris University. While working at Institut Gustave Roussy (IGR), a large cancer centre in Paris, he discovered the LAG-3 gene in 1990 and continued working on this research program since then, identifying the functions and medical usefulness of this molecule. He headed a research group at IGR while being also involved in the biological follow-up of cancer patients treated in Phase I/II immunotherapy trials. He was Director of an INSERM Unit from 1991 to 1996. First trained as a clinical haematologist, Dr. Frederic Treibel holds a Ph.D. in immunology (Paris University) and successfully developed several research programs in immunogenetics, leading to 140 publications and 16 patents.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Immutep
Immutep is a biologics company in the fast-growing field of targeted protein-based immunotherapeutics. The Company is well-advanced in the clinic and is planning a Phase IIb/III trial. It is based near Paris, France. The Company is developing two complementary types of therapeuticproteins: new classes of human protein immunostimulatory factors for the treatment of cancer (ImmuFact and ImmuCcine). therapeuticantibodies for the modulation of the immune system in cancer, autoimmune diseases and transplantation (ImmuTune). Each type of therapeutic is based on newly-discovered pathways involved in the Lymphocyte Activation Gene-3 (LAG-3) immune control mechanism, which plays a vital role in the regulation of the immune system. These pathways were discovered by the Company's scientific founder, Dr. Frederic Treibel , initially developed in collaboration between the Institut Gustave Roussy and Merck-Serono , and then confirmed by several independent teams. This has enabled Immutep to build a distinctive platform providing diversified risks and opportunities while maintaining scientific focus.