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Immutep was granted a Chinese patent for LAG525, a LAG-3 antagonist antibody, under evaluation for cancer treatment.
Immutep, an Australian-based biotechnology company specializing in immunotherapy, announced receipt of a patent from the Chinese Patent Office on Aug. 27, 2021 for LAG525, a lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG-3) antagonist antibody. The Chinese patent follows corresponding patents in Australia, the United States, Europe, and Japan, which were granted in 2018 through 2020.
The patent claims are specifically directed to LAG525, pharmaceutical compositions comprising LAG525, nucleic acid molecules that code for the LAG525 antibody, an expression vector or host cell that comprises the nucleic acid molecules, and to the use of LAG525 in the manufacture of a preparation for the treatment of cancer or infectious disease.
LAG525 (leramilimab) is a humanized form of Immutep’s IMP701 antibody, which has been out-licensed to Novartis. Novartis and Immutep co-own the patent, which will expire on March 13, 2035.
The antibody plays a role in controlling signaling pathways in both effector T cells and regulatory T cells (Treg). The antibody activates effector T cells by blocking inhibitory signals that would otherwise switch them off. The antibody also inhibits Treg function that normally prevents T cells from responding to antigen stimulation. Both mechanisms of action prevent the immune system from responding to and killing cancer cells. Other antagonist LAG-3 antibodies in development target only the effector T-cell pathway but don’t address the Treg pathway.
LAG525 is being evaluated in several Phase I and/or Phase II clinical trials in combination with spartalizumab, Novartis’ programmed cell death 1 (PD1) inhibitor to treat various cancers. Under an agreement between the companies, Novartis has full responsibility for the continued development of the antibody program, and Immutep is eligible to receive development-based milestone payments and royalties on sales following commercialization of the antibody.