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MedImmune and 3M Drug Delivery Systems collaborate to develop toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists for immuno-oncology.
MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and 3M Drug Delivery Systems, announced a research collaboration focused on developing next-generation toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists, the companies announced on Sept. 25, 2015. As part of the agreement, MedImmune has in-licensed from 3M MEDI9197 (formerly 3M-052), a novel TLR7/TLR8 dual agonist. FDA recently accepted an investigational new drug application (IND) for a Phase I study to explore the safety and tolerability of MEDI9197 as a potential treatment for patients with solid tumors.
TLR agonists are promising agents that activate antigen-presenting cells such as dendritic cells, enhancing the visibility of a tumor to the immune system. MEDI9197 has been designed to activate a broad range of innate immune cells through targeting of both TLR7 and TLR8, leading to a more robust, adaptive immune response. A TLR7/TLR8 dual agonist can additionally convert immune suppressive cells in the tumor to those with anti-tumor properties, allowing the generation of an effective anti-tumor response. MEDI9197 will also be the first dual TLR7/TLR8 agonist administered directly into a tumor in a clinical setting.
Preclinical studies demonstrate that intratumoral dosing of MEDI9197 may inhibit tumor growth of both the injected and distant lesions in multiple types of cancer, including melanoma. MEDI9197 is uniquely designed for intratumoral injection, allowing the compound to be retained in the tumor and provide specific immune activation, enhancing its safety and tolerability profile.
Under the agreement, MedImmune is responsible for the clinical development and strategy for MEDI9197. 3M will continue to develop additional TLR agonists in oncology and other therapy areas, with MedImmune holding exclusive rights to conduct research on new molecules resulting from the collaboration and to determine which to progress to clinical development. The terms of the agreement include an upfront payment and development-related milestone payments for MEDI9197 in addition to research funding paid by MedImmune to 3M. 3M retains the rights to 3M-052 in certain topical applications and use in vaccine admixtures.