Compugen (NASDAQ:CGEN; TASE:CGEN) has entered into a multi-year research collaboration with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to evaluate novel “immune checkpoint” candidates discovered by Compugen for potential treatment of cancer. The research will be directed by Johns Hopkins University’s Prof. Drew Pardoll and Dr. Charles Drake, members of Compugen’s Scientific Advisory Board and pioneers in the field of immuno-oncology.
Dr. Anat Cohen-Dayag, President and CEO of Compugen, stated,
“Prof. Pardoll and Dr. Drake are recognized as world leaders in the field of immuno-oncology. We are very enthusiastic to be collaborating with them and with Johns Hopkins University in this comprehensive research program to further characterize and differentiate our novel cancer immunotherapy B7/CD28-like candidates. We anticipate that this research will provide important insights for the continuing development by us and our potential future partners of our therapeutic candidates in the exceptionally promising field of cancer immunotherapy.”
Prof. Pardoll stated,
“In this intensely researched area of immune checkpoints, it is remarkable that Compugen, through the use of its unique predictive methodologies, has discovered such a large number of novel and highly promising immune checkpoint candidates. Although these programs are at early stages, we very much look forward to collaborating with the scientists at Compugen in order to add to the understanding of these novel checkpoints and assess their potential applications in immuno-oncology.”
Dr. Drake added,
“Immunotherapy is dramatically changing the landscape for cancer treatment, but current therapies appear to address only a small percentage of patients. It is widely believed that the availability of monoclonal antibody drugs addressing additional checkpoint targets will significantly broaden the applicability of this breakthrough approach. Therefore, the large number of novel checkpoint candidates discovered to date by Compugen represents a potential major contribution to this rapidly growing field.”
The selected immune checkpoint candidates included in this collaboration are part of the eleven B7/CD28-like proteins discovered so far by Compugen using its unique predictive discovery infrastructure. The various characteristics and potential mechanisms of action of these novel therapeutic target candidates show that they have potential to become first-in-class cancer immunotherapies.
Immune checkpoints are inhibitory receptors and their ligands that are crucial for prevention of autoimmunity and protection of tissues from damage when the immune system is responding to pathogenic infection or other injuries. Immune checkpoints are “hijacked” by tumors to block the ability of the immune system to destroy the tumor. Therapeutic blockade of immune checkpoints can boost anti-tumor immunity, enabling the patient’s immune system to recognize and attack the tumor cells and mount durable anti-tumor responses and tumor destruction.
Incorporated in 1993 and headquartered in Tel Aviv, Compugen is a leading drug discovery company focused on therapeutic proteins and monoclonal antibodies to address important unmet needs in the fields of oncology and immunology. The Company utilizes a broad and continuously growing integrated infrastructure of proprietary scientific understandings and predictive platforms, algorithms, machine learning systems and other computational biology capabilities for the in silico (by computer) prediction and selection of product candidates, which are then advanced in its Pipeline Program. The Company’s business model includes collaborations covering the further development and commercialization of product candidates at various stages from its Pipeline Program and various forms of research and discovery agreements, in both cases providing Compugen with potential milestone payments and royalties on product sales or other forms of revenue sharing. Compugen’s wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary located in South San Francisco is developing monoclonal antibody therapeutic candidates against its drug targets. Compugen has been publicly traded on Nasdaq since August 2000 and on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange since January 2002.
Recent surges in the price performance of Compugen stock (22.7% in the past month) have resulted in ratings of “BUY”, as analysts believe it still has yet to reach its full potential.