Prima Biomed was originally built on CVac, a therapeutic cancer vaccine. With its recent shift to embrace multiple products, the company has decided to rebrand itself to Immutep, named after a subsidy acquired in 2014. Leading the company is Marc Voigt, who will join us at Phar-East 2018 to speak about their vision of the next big immune checkpoint in the immunotherapy race. We put together this article to share with you a preview of what you can expect to hear at the conference in Singapore next 28 February-2 March.
Q: What’s the reason behind the rebranding of Prima Biomed to Immutep?
Marc: The name change follows a transformational period for the Company from a single product cancer vaccine developer to a multi-product, global leader in LAG-3 immunotherapy.
Immutep S.A.S was acquired in 2014 and has been operating as a 100% owned French subsidiary. The name Immutep is strongly associated with LAG-3 through the work of its founder and the Company’s CMO and CSO, Dr. Frederic Triebel.
The name Immutep more closely represents the Company’s corporate identity and activities and will better leverage the growing reputation of LAG-3 for the benefit of all stakeholders.
Q: What’s your view of immunotherapy?
Marc: Immunotherapy is already playing a key role in oncology and other indications. In recent years, immunotherapy has become of great interest to researchers, clinicians and pharmaceutical companies, particularly in its promise to treat various forms of cancer. This is not just the next fashion wave in science but underpinned by robust data and product approvals. We firmly believe that the role of immunotherapy will get even more important in the next decade. In this context our LAG-3 based approach can play a significant role.
Q: Please share with us a quick description of Immutep’s most exciting pipelines and how it is going to disrupt the field of immunotherapy
Marc: Our product candidate pipeline is based on one of the most important immune checkpoints called Lymphocyte Activation Gene-3 or simply LAG-3. Indeed we believe it is justified to consider Immutep as the world leader in the LAG-3 devopment as no other company, including big pharma, has that many different LAG-3 related product candidates in development. In addition, the inventor of LAG-3, Prof. Frederic Triebel is our CSO & CMO.
We have four LAG-3 product candidates. The most advanced of the three is IMP321. IMP321 is a recombinant protein typically used in conjunction with other therapies (e.g. chemotherapy) to amplify a patient’s immune response. The development and manufacturing of IMP321 is being conducted in conjunction with our licensee Eddingpharm at WuXi Biologics.
Another LAG-3 product candidate is IMP701, an antagonist antibody that acts to stimulate T cell proliferation in cancer patients. IMP701 has been licensed to Novartis, which is solely responsible for its development and manufacturing. Currently it is tested in a 515 patient Phase I/II clinical study.
Our third LAG-3 product candidate is IMP731, a depleting antibody that could remove T cells involved in autoimmunity. IMP731 has been licensed to GlaxoSmithKline, or GSK, which is solely responsible for its development and manufacturing. This unique product is in Phase I stage.
Our forth LAG-3 product candidate is IMP761, a new early stage product candidate which is being developed as our first agonist antibody of LAG-3.
Q: Who would you like to meet at Phar-East?
Marc: We have existing partnerships in Asia, especially in China and Japan and are very interested in Asia. It is always good to interact with biotech or pharma companies as well as – especially as a listed company – with investors.
Phar-East 2018’s full program will bring you over 120 speakers! Find out more from our website: www.terrapinn.com/phar-east/
About Phar-East 2018
From humble beginnings as BioMedical Asia in 2008, BioPharma Asia has attracted close to 20,000 attendees over the last 10 years. Established as a true one-stop shop for all things biopharma, our 2018 program is rebranded into Phar East 2018 to explore innovation in clinical trials, manufacturing, supply chain, market access, partnering, pricing, and more without restricting itself on the type and nature of therapeutic products. Visit our website for more information: www.terrapinn.com/phar-east/