October 24, 2016 — Press
LENNIK, Belgium-November, 2016 — ChemCom S.A, together with Iteos Therapeutics S.A., ImmunXperts S.A., the de Duve Institute and IRIBHM have been awarded 1,6 million euro grant through a BioWin project called IT-Targets. The aim of this collaboration is to identify innovative drug candidates and biomarkers for immunotherapy of various types of cancer, starting from patient tumor derived material. The IT-Targets project will focus on G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), which will be selected by profiling the most important immune cell types purified from clinical samples.
Despite the fact that GPCRs are the largest signal-conveying receptor family and mediate many physiological processes, their role in tumor biology is underappreciated. GPCRs and their downstream signaling are involved in cancer growth and development by controlling many features of tumorigenesis, including immune cell-mediated functions, proliferation, invasion and survival at the secondary site. The project associates the expertise of IRIBHM in GPCR discovery and validation, the unique technology on sensory GPCRs developed by ChemCom, the in-depth tumor immunology expertise of de Duve with the drug discovery capabilities of iTeos and the expertise of ImmunXperts with human primary cells in immuno-oncology.
“We are proud and honored to belong to this consortium, each member bringing its specific but complementary expertizes to tackle oncology and to bring innovative therapeutic solutions to patient suffering from cancer. This consortium will focus on the exploration of the GPCRs, including sensory ones, often omitted for immunotherapy applications” said Yannick Quesnel, CSO of ChemCom. “ChemCom has built a tremendous knowledge using its patented technological plateform focusing on chemical communication mediated by sensory receptors. These receptors’ expression is not restricted to the orinasal cavity but spread all over the human body. It is now time for ChemCom to explore applications outside taste and olfaction areas”.
About ChemCom S.A.
Based in Brussels in the Medical Campus of the “Université Libre de Bruxelles”, ChemCom is the leading discovery company for products and services related to chemical communications mediated by human sensory receptors (GPCRs). ChemCom, relying on its scientific excellence and its patented technological plateform, expresses the whole repertoire of human olfactory receptors. This enables a large scale deorphanization and characterization of human sensory receptors and allows the discovery of new products acting through activation (agonism or positive allosterism) or blockade (antagonism) of those sensory GPCRs. ChemCom activities are focused on new products for consumer’s needs in the area of Flavors & Fragrances, but also, by the use of ectopic sensory receptors, to pharmaceutical applications. The company is supported in part by the Brussels Region of Belgium (Innoviris).
Created in 2006, BioWin, the Health Cluster of Wallonia (Belgium), is the reference player for all the stakeholders (companies, research centers and universities) involved in innovative R&D projects and/or skills development in the field of health biotechnology and medical technologies. The cluster carries out a variety of actions designed to promote Wallonia’s scientific and industrial excellence at the international level. More information is available at www.biowin.org and the blog page www.win-health.org.
About iTeos Therapeutics S.A.
Based in Gosselies, Belgium, iTeos, a spin-off of Ludwig Cancer Research (LICR) and de Duve Institute (UCL), expands the benefits of immunotherapy to cancer patients. The company develops a proprietary pipeline targeting A2A, immune checkpoints and non-immunogenic tumors, and has licensed its IDO1 program, now in Phase 1, to Pfizer. iTeos’ competitive edge is in the combination of expertise in drug discovery and translational tumor immunology. The company uses a unique platform to identify rationale combination of immunotherapies and novel targets. The company is supported in part by the Walloon Region of Belgium and the FEDER (European Fund for Economic and Regional Development).
About ImmunXperts S.A.
Founded in 2014, ImmunXperts provides immunogenicity and immune-oncology screening services, assessing all aspects of the immune responses in donors and patients, supporting its partners in the full development cycle of novel drugs, biotherapeutics and stem cell therapies. Through its ImmunAcademy, the company supports biopharma companies to set up and build out immunology screening tools.
About the de Duve Institute at the Université catholique de Louvain
The de Duve Institute is a multidisciplinary biomedical research institute hosting several laboratories of the faculty of medicine of UCL, as well as the Brussels branch of the Ludwig Institute. Several research groups of the Institute focus on tumor immunology and cancer immunotherapy. The IT-Targets project provides a unique opportunity to explore the roles of G protein-coupled receptors in human tumor immunology. We will combine our expertise on anti-cancer T cell responses with those of IRIBHM and ChemCom on the physiology of GPCRs, of ImmunXperts on cell purification and of iTeos on the development of innovative immune modulators for cancer immunotherapy.
About (IRIBHM) Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Biologie Humain et Moléculaire from the Université Libre de Bruxelles
IRIBHM has a long standing expertise in the functional characterization of G protein-coupled receptors in physiological processes and diseases. Amongst other topics, the Institute has pioneered the description of olfactory receptors and their function in other organs than the olfactory mucosa and is presently studying the role of receptors expressed in leukocyte populations in mouse models of carcinogenesis.