Defence Therapeutics Inc, a Canadian biotech company actively working on accelerating scientific discoveries an products development against cancer, congratulates US President, Joe Biden on the executive order signed on Monday.
The order established the Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing initiative to ensure cutting-edge biotechnologies necessary to end cancer as we know it, and other innovations to be developed and manufactured in the US.
Sixty years ago, US President John F Kennedy delivered his Moonshot speech at Rice University, committing to putting a man on the moon and bringing him back. This past Monday, President Biden discussed his vision for another American moonshot: ending cancer as we know it, which includes changing people’s lives for the better, improving their health and decreasing the burden of the disease with the aim of cutting cancer-related death by 50% in the next 25 years.
Defence AccumTM is a biotechnology platform that is being extensively developed to enhance and increase the efficacy of any existing drugs against cancer, which is directly in line with the Cancer Moonshot programme. The AccumTM technology can be exploited to design a multitude of products including i) antibody-drug conjugates (“ADCs”), ii) protein/cellular vaccines, and iii) the design of anti-cancer small chemotypes.
The Accum-ADC programme
The main clinical focus of ADCs has been in the field of breast cancer. However, the treatment regimen is long (numerous cycles), requires large doses, and the therapeutic response is limited. By re-engineering these ADCs to contain AccumTM moieties, Defence has demonstrated that it is indeed possible to improve the potency of commercially available ADCs by more than 100 folds. This approach does not only apply to commercially available ADCs, but Defence is currently working on developing its in-house product using its own proprietary antibody and payloads.
Protein- and cell-based vaccines
In addition to ADCs, Defence applied over the last two years, the AccumTM technology in the design of novel vaccines. For instance, the company has shown that it is indeed possible to develop an anti-cervical, protein-based vaccine without the use of a mixture of HPV-derived proteins. This vaccine contains one protein (the E7 gene product) and can be used prophylactically (to protect from cervical cancer) or therapeutically to treat established cervical cancer. Defence has demonstrated pre-clinically, that the vaccine synergises with various immune-checkpoint blockers and can lead to a survival rate between 70 and 100%.
Another successful example demonstrating how versatile the AccumTM technology is, consists of using this molecule to develop cellular-based vaccines. In fact, the Defence team has engineered a variant of the initial AccumTM molecule. When admixed to a given antigen, this molecule can convert mesenchymal stromal cells into potent antigen-presenting cells capable of mounting a powerful anti-cancer response. Pre-clinical results in the context of solid lymphoma should be released shortly. Additionally, the vaccine is currently being tested in the context of melanoma as a proof of principle for a Phase I trial scheduled for 2023.
The AccuTOXTM programme: a new line of anti-cancer therapeutics
Although the goal of using AccumTM is mostly to improve biomolecules accumulation in target cells, this small molecule entity was found to exert anti-cancer effects if delivered alone with being conjugated on other proteins, DNA or RNA molecules. As such, this AccumTM variant, known as AccuTOXTM, can induce pre-established lymphoma, melanoma and cervical cancer regression and synergise with immune-checkpoint blockers. In addition to this, the AccuTOXTM was shown to cause DNA damage and trigger immunogenic cell death. As such, an AccuTOXTM-based therapy can not only destroy tumours from the inside, but can also stimulate an immune response to protect the host from subsequent tumour re-growth.
Accum Drug the UndruggableTM
“Defence Therapeutics is well positioned to prevent cancer and to enhance the efficacy of any drugs against cancer with its versatile technology: a solution looking for a cancer problem. With all the cancer programmes in development, Defence is in a strong position to truly make a difference and help to reduce the cancer death rate. We are focussing on prevention and to improving the efficacy of any existing and new treatments against any type of cancer. The AccumTM is truly a plug-and-play platform technology that can enhance existing cancer treatments,” said Sebastien Plouffe, Chief Executive Officer of Defence Therapeutics Inc.
Defence Therapeutics is a publicly traded biotechnology company working on engineering the next generation vaccines and ADC products using its proprietary platform. The core of Defence Therapeutics platform is the ACCUMTM technology, which enables precision delivery of vaccine antigens or ADCs in their intact form to target cells. As a result, increased efficacy and potency can be reached against catastrophic illness such as cancer and infectious diseases.