The company aims to launch a Phase 1 clinical trial in late 2021.
CAN10 was designed to specifically block the activity of the interleukin 1 receptor accessory protein, also known as IL1RAP, to suppress signals from three important pro-inflammatory molecules involved in human diseases.
“The development of our IL1RAP platform is a big step forward for the company. We look forward to advancing the CAN10 project for the treatment of life-threatening diseases with few therapeutic options,” Göran Forsberg, CEO at Cantargia, said in a press release.
In a collaboration with Panorama Research on the overall CANxx platform, the engineered antibody was identified from a library of more than 100 well-characterized anti-IL1RAP antibodies.
Initial studies allowed the team to select two antibody candidates that could selectively and strongly bind to IL1RAP, and at the same time block interleukin (IL)-1, IL-33, and IL-36. Cantargia’s lead product, CAN04 is being tested in the CANFOUR Phase 1/2a clinical trial in people with pancreatic cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NCT03267316).
The IL-1 family is composed of 11 signaling molecules that play a crucial role in inflammation. Research has shown that most of these molecules are involved in immunity and fibrosis (scarring) in scleroderma.
Selecting scleroderma and myocarditis as the therapy’s initial focus was based on an independent analysis of the antibody’s potential in treating about 150 autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The analysis included interviews with key opinion leaders and covered aspects such as scientific rationale, medical need, development opportunities, and market competition, according to the company.
Preclinical data has demonstrated that CAN10 has a strong and unique anti-inflammatory effect in mice. Cantargia will now advance into studies of efficacy and safety to build support for clinical trials.
The company will construct the necessary tools and facilities to support stable production of the antibodies. After completion of this first step, the researchers will select one of the antibodies as a clinical candidate and will focus exclusively on its further development.
Cantargia said this approach will increase the chances of clinical success without jeopardizing development timelines.