By Jeremy Golden, Benzinga
Founded in 2011, Elicio Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ELTX) strives to use precision vaccines, immunomodulators and cell-based therapies to assemble cancer-killing immune responses against both blood and solid tumors.
Elicios proprietary Amphiphile or AMP platform differentiates the company through the development of cancer immunotherapies for patients with limited treatment options and often poor outcomes.
As the foundation for the various vaccine candidates in the biotech companys pipeline, the AMP platform will help Elicio combat cancer and other diseases.
Therapeutic vaccines are designed to train the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells by targeting tumor-specific antigens. These molecules are present on the surface of cancer cells, allowing the immune response to differentiate them from healthy cells.
Tumor biology is complex, and it is difficult to identify effective target antigens. This is, in part, because the tumor microenvironment suppresses immune activity.
Differentiating itself from competitors, Elicio Therapeutics is attacking this challenge head-on by re-engineering the bodys immune response to defeat cancer with potent lymph node-targeted immunotherapies and vaccines. Elicios AMP platform combines expertise in materials science and immunology to develop novel immunotherapies, including cell therapy activators, immunomodulators, adjuvants and vaccines to treat many aggressive cancers.
The platform was first developed in the lab of Darrell Irvine, Ph.D., whose work as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT has put him at the forefront of the field.
A clinical-stage biotechnology company, Elicio Therapeutics has developed multiple cancer vaccine candidates, including: ELI-002 for KRAS-driven cancers caused by a mutation of the KRAS gene; ELI-007 for cancers involving mutant BRAF gene; and ELI-008 for cancers involving p53 hotspot mutations.
Looking to the future, our focus is on developing ELI-002 as a treatment for mutant KRAS (mKRAS)-driven cancers, Chief Executive Officer Robert Connelly said in June after a reverse merger with Angion Biomedica Corp. We are conducting clinical studies evaluating the 2-peptide and 7-peptide formulations of ELI-002 and are encouraged by the interim data that will be presented at ASCO, supporting ELI-002s potential clinical utility in patients with high relapse risk pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
Vaccinating Against Cancer
The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network estimates that about 95% of pancreatic cancer patients have the KRAS mutation, an error in a protein in normal cells that has the potential to cause cancer. By specifically targeting the KRAS mutation, prominent in patients with pancreatic and colon cancer, Elicio Therapeutics lead asset, ELI-002, is more promising than others in the clinical trial phase.
Though further studies are needed to confirm its efficacy, the shot could improve survival for colon cancer, expected to be the number one cause of cancer deaths for people between 20-49 years of age by 2030, and pancreatic cancer, which has just a 12% survival rate after five years.
Unlike other experimental cancer vaccines in development, the shot won't have to be customized to each patient, making it more affordable and readily available.
Preclinical trials have shown that Amphiphiles target and concentrate an array of different immunogens in the lymph nodes, resulting in tumor or pathogen-targeted immunity. In one trial, an Elicio Therapeutics vaccine was given to patients with pancreatic and colorectal cancers.
The results were promising, with 77% of patients experiencing a reduction in biomarkers that show the persistence of tumors. 32% of patients completely cleared those biomarkers.
Elicio Therapeutics seems to be leading the charge toward vaccination against cancer. By combining expertise in immunology and immunotherapy, Elicio is precisely targeting and fully engaging the lymph nodes, the site in our bodies where the immune response to cancer is orchestrated.
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