New patent covers ICOS T cell co-stimulation in combination with Heat's proprietary gp96 platform
DURHAM, NC / ACCESSWIRE / October 7, 2020 / Heat Biologics, Inc. ("Heat") (NASDAQ:HTBX), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing first-in-class therapies to modulate the immune system, including multiple oncology product candidates and a novel COVID-19 vaccine, today announced it has been issued a new US patent (US Patent No. 10,780,161) covering compositions of matter that are part of Heat's gp96 platform (antigen presentation, T cell activation, TLR activation) in combination with Inducible T cell Co-stimulator (ICOS) ligand or ICOSL, a T cell immune booster, in a single therapy. The goal of the combination therapy is to boost immunity to potentially overcome the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and address the needs of patients refractory to current therapies.
This newly issued US patent complements Heat's growing patent estate around its platform technology, which also includes a U.S. patent covering Heat's gp96 platform in combination with OX40L, a T cell costimulatory agonist. Pre-clinical studies combining Heat's secreted gp96 plus OX40L T cell co-stimulator in a single therapy, administered locally, have demonstrated superior activity compared to gp96 in combination with conventional OX40 antibody administered systemically by IV infusion.
Heat's gp96 combination with a T cell co-stimulator is expected to have utility in combating viral infections, beyond its potential in oncology. The presentation of immunogenic viral antigens via gp96 (for example the S-protein in COVID-19 infection) and induction of innate immunity along with potent activation/boost of cellular immunity via killer CD8+ T cells is expected to be instrumental in eradicating both SARS-CoV-2 infected cells or tumor cells. In pre-clinical studies, Heat's gp96 based COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated the ability to generate lung tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cells which are vital in destroying SARS-CoV-2 infected cells. This novel COVID-19 vaccine approach may be particularly important in treating immunocompromised patient populations.
Jeff Wolf, Chief Executive Officer of Heat, commented, "This new patent strengthens our gp96 intellectual property portfolio by adding another T cell costimulatory agonist to our arsenal. We believe our novel single therapy combination approach that initiates local and specific T cell activation provides competitive advantages over conventional antibody therapies by limiting systemic toxicity and lowering the significant cost required when combining multiple biological therapies. We are progressing with our Phase 1 trials with gp96 (HS-110) in combination with local OX40L (HS-130) and checkpoint inhibition as well as our gp96-based COVID-19 vaccine, and look forward to providing further clinical updates."