A small molecule, OR-682, for cancer immuno-therapy
More than half a million Americans will die of cancer in 2017. New cancer immunotherapies, designed to mobilize the immune system against tumors, have produced unprecedented results. Sales of the new immuno-oncology drugs–the checkpoint inhibitors–could exceed $10 B in 2017.
But weaknesses and opportunities are significant: serious toxicities in 5-10% of patients, long-term remission rates of less than 20%, and a pipeline heavily biased to biologics. OR-682, an orally-bioavailable small molecule, inhibits the formation of new T regulatory (Treg) cells, or iTregs, through a nuclear receptor target. Several cancers, including ovarian, liver and pancreatic, typically contain a high level of Tregs, which normally act as a brake on the immune system, and these cancers could be therapeutically-responsive.
There are no therapies currently in development that block the same signaling pathway as OR-682. OR-682 has potency and drug-like qualities consistent with a development candidate and is covered by a use patent application for cancer. Related NCEs are in discovery as backups or follow-on molecules.