Boca Raton, Florida, Jan. 25, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- INmune Bio, Inc. (NASDAQ: INMB) (“INMB” or “the Company”), a clinical-stage immunology company focused on developing treatments that harness the patient’s innate immune system to fight disease, today announced that the company has entered into a pre-clinical research collaboration with Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to evaluate INKmune™ -- the company’s pseudokine NK cell priming platform -- in nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC), a type of head and neck cancer.
The Strategic Partnership Award for Research Collaboration, which was granted by the CUHK Office of Academic Links, is between Prof. Michael Tong at CUHK and Prof. Mark Lowdell at University College London (UCL) and Chief Scientific Officer of INMB. The project provides INMB scientists working at UCL with access to the only three proven NPC cancer cell lines to test the ability of INKmune-primed NK cells to kill NPC tumors.
“Our colleagues at CUHK have been studying NK cell responses to NPC for many years but have not yet translated them into clinical trials,” stated Prof. Lowdell. “They have shown the need for cytokine activation with IL2 or IL15 to achieve tumor killing. We believe pseudokine activation by INKmune will provide all the relevant NK activating signals of IL2 and IL15 plus a host of other critical NK survival signals and generate memory-like NK cells. We are confident that these INKmune primed cells will kill NPC tumor cells very effectively and we look forward to a mutually beneficial collaboration.”
“Over 180,000 cases of NPC were diagnosed last year with 85% originating in Asia. Current treatments are quite poor, leading to high mortality rates. History of EBV infection (commonly known as mono) and genetic polymorphisms drive the incidence of the disease,” said RJ Tesi, INmune Bio’s Chief Executive Officer. “This peer-reviewed grant and international collaboration targeting what has historically been a difficult to treat solid tumor validates the versatility of INKmune. We look forward to translating this work to the clinic in the near future.”
This grant award to CUHK will fund pre-clinical work that, if successful, will provide the scientific rationale for a formal clinical trial in NPC at UCL in the U.K., CUHK in Hong Kong, and at sites in the U.S.
Definition of a Pseudokine
Cytokines are proteins produced by immune cells to affect the immune response. In cancer, cytokines such as IL2, IL12, IL15, IL18 stimulate the immune response against tumors. Cytokines such as IL4, IL10 and TGF-β inhibit the immune response against tumors. The balance between cytokines that stimulate the immune system to kill a cancer and cytokines produced to protect the cancer from that immune response is a battle that occurs in the TME of every cancer. The goal of modern immunotherapy is to shift the balance to tumor killing verses tumor protection (immunosuppressive immune response). Traditionally, cancer killing cytokine strategies focus on one cytokine at time (e,g., IL2 or IL15) due to the high risk of initiating cytokine release syndrome. To get better cancer killing cells, use of more than one cytokine is needed but giving one or more cytokines to a patient is likely to have toxicities that limit the use of this treatment strategy.
To circumvent the toxicities of multiple cytokines, immune cells can be removed from the patient, treated with multiple cytokines to “rev up” their cancer killing abilities and then be given back to the patients. This strategy is sometimes effective but is expensive and logistically complex. INKmune converts resting NK cells to cancer killing memory like NK (mlNK) cells. Conversion of a resting NK cell to a mlNK cell takes at least 3 cytokines (IL12, IL15 and IL18). This type of mlNK cell is called a CIML (cytokine induced memory like NK cell). CIML can only be produced from immune cells outside of the patient in a complicated ex vivo manufacturing process and a need to sustain the CIML in the patient with addition of systemic, low dose IL2. INKmune produces tumor induced mlNK cells (TIML). With INKmune, TIML are produced by converting the patient’s own resting NK cells to mlNK cells in the patient (no ex vivo manufacturing). The patient gets an infusion of INKmune, and the resting NK cells become mlNK. This is why we call INKmune a pseudokine – it acts like multiple cytokines but is not a cytokine. It is a single agent given to the patient to produce a cancer killing NK cell.
There may be advantages in the cancer killing power (avidity) and persistence of TIML compared to CIML. There are clear logistical advantages and possibly safety advantages to INKmune, the pseudokine compared to any cytokine-based strategy.
INKmuneTM is a pharmaceutical-grade, replication-incompetent human tumor cell line which conjugates to resting NK cells and delivers multiple, essential priming signals akin to treatment with at least three cytokines in combination. Since INKmune™ is not a protein we have termed it a pseudokine. INKmune™ is stable at -80oC, can be shipped on dry ice and is delivered by a simple IV infusion without conditioning therapy or need for systemic cytokines. The INKmune:NK interaction ligates multiple activating and co-stimulatory molecules on the NK cell and enhances its avidity of binding to tumor cells; notably those resistant to normal NK-mediated lysis. Tumor-primed NK (TpNK) cells can lyse a wide variety of NK-resistant tumors including leukemias, lymphomas, myeloma, ovarian cancer, breast cancer.
About INmune Bio, Inc.
INmune Bio, Inc. is a publicly traded (NASDAQ: INMB), clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing treatments that target the innate immune system to fight disease. INmune Bio has two product platforms that are both in clinical trials. The DN-TNF product platform utilizes dominant-negative technology to selectively neutralize soluble TNF, a key driver of innate immune dysfunction and mechanistic target of many diseases. DN-TNF is in clinical trial to determine if it can treat cancer (INB03™), Mild Alzheimer’s disease, Mild Cognitive Impairment and treatment resistant depression (XPro). The Natural Killer Cell Priming Platform includes INKmune™ aimed at priming the patient’s NK cells to eliminate minimal residual disease in patients with cancer. INmune Bio’s product platforms utilize a precision medicine approach for the treatment of a wide variety of hematologic malignancies, solid tumors and chronic inflammation. To learn more, please visit www.inmunebio.com.
Forward Looking Statements
Clinical trials are in early stages and there is no assurance that any specific outcome will be achieved. Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any statements contained in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements contained herein are based on current expectations but are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results and the timing of certain events and circumstances may differ materially from those described by the forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties. INB03™, XPro1595, and INKmune™ are still in clinical trials or preparing to start clinical trials and have not been approved and there cannot be any assurance that they will be approved or that any specific results will be achieved. The factors that could cause actual future results to differ materially from current expectations include, but are not limited to, risks and uncertainties relating to the Company’s ability to produce more drug for clinical trials; the availability of substantial additional funding for the Company to continue its operations and to conduct research and development, clinical studies and future product commercialization; and, the Company’s business, research, product development, regulatory approval, marketing and distribution plans and strategies. These and other factors are identified and described in more detail in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, the Company’s Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and the Company’s Current Reports on Form 8-K. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements in order to reflect any event or circumstance that may arise after the date of this release.
INmune Bio Contact:
David Moss, CFO (858) 964-3720