Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cell Therapy A Focus at BIO-Europe in Munich

By: Leah Kinthaert

On November 2, Michel Detheux, CEO of iTeos Therapeutics returns as a panelist for BIO-Europe in Munich. On that day, BIO-Europe will partner with the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) to showcase some of the biggest movers and shakers in the cell therapy and regenerative medicine space. For a preview, you can watch Detheux at BIO-Europe 2014 on a panel with others from Novartis, Innovio and Bristol-Myers Squibb here. Their discussion focused on answering questions such as: "Are there opportunities to remain a company without having to exit?" and - "Is it the endgame to get acquired?"

Is it the endgame to get acquired? – At the event last year, Detheux answered this question by commenting that his company would be running out of funds the following year and that: "If a company like iTeos wants to get access to a large portfolio of different immunotherapies we need to partner quite early stage".

Partnership with Pfizer – In December 2014, iTeos partnered with Pfizer. iTeos gave Pfizer rights to their pre-clinical compounds targeting ID01 and TD02 while Pfizer was to be responsible for the development and commercialization of ID01 and TD02 drug candidates.

Check in on their partnership – Eleven months later, it will be exciting to see how the partnership between iTeos and Pfizer is moving along. Beatrice Gerard of Quintiles will be moderating; other panelists include: Mohamed Ragab, of Bristol Myers-Squibb, Iain Dukes of MSD and Philippe Lopes-Fernandes of Merck-Serono. This interesting mix of individuals representing big pharma and start-ups was a great discussion generator last year and promises to be very informative for both biotech start-ups looking for guidance and R&D looking to fill gaps and bring in innovation.

About iTeos – Based in Gosselies, Belgium, iTeos Therapeutics SA is a private biotechnology company with a focus on developing small-molecule immunomodulators for cancer treatment. Originating from a partnership between the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and de Duve Institute at the Universit√© catholique de Louvain, iTeos Therapeutics SA is led by management and research teams with proven track records in tumor immunology, immunotherapy, drug discovery and development. In December 2014, iTeos signed a transformative deal with Pfizer to develop small molecules immunomodulators. In parallel with this strategic partnership, iTeos is now developing a new pipeline of proprietary programs targeting the tumor microenvironment to improve patients outcome. iTeos Therapeutics is focused on the validation and development of "immunomodulatory" molecules with the potential to act in synergy with other cancer therapies to restore immune activity against tumours. The company is interested in three enzymes involved in immunosuppression: an immunosuppressive enzyme expressed by the tumour's stromal cells. An inhibitor of this enzyme is known and its effects on humans have already been studied for other applications. iTeos hopes to begin clinical trials with this molecule by 2014; indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase (TDO), for which iTeos will soon be launching a high-speed screening system for identifying inhibitory molecules. The company hopes to develop an immunomodulator from these two enzymes by 2017.

You can see the description of the cell therapy and regenerative medicine events on November 2 and 4 here.

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