AgonOx gets anti-tumor technology into clinical trial

AgonOx, a Providence Cancer Center spinoff, has hit a new milestone, with a new cancer therapy clinical trial getting under way.

AgonOx’s OX40 platform is being used in MedImmune’s Phase 1 trial. AgonOx is developing a pipeline of novel immunotherapy drugs targeting key regulators of the immune response to cancer.

MedImmune, the Gaithersburg, Md.-based global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, licensed AgonOx’s OS40 platform in 2011.

The OX40 molecule is found on T cells in the immune system. Activating those cells the right way can eliminate tumors in mice and shrink them in certain human cancer patients. The idea is to enhance T cell stimulation and help the immune system kill tumor cells.

Andrew Weinberg, AgonOx founder and president, invented the OX40 platform after it was identified in the Providence lab several years ago.

Providence Cancer Center, one of the sites selected by MedImmune to participate in the clinical trial, enrolled the first patient. The trial is being conducted at multiple sites.

Previously, it was tested in patients using a mouse protein, which limited the number of patients who could participate. The results were positive enough, however, that MedImmune joined forces to develop the human version. Now many more people can participate, which should allow the treatment to move faster through the Food & Drug Administration’s approval process.

“It’s a significant achievement for any biotech company, but for a small company, even more so,” said Grant Risdon, who is with AgonOx. “It represents more than 10 years of work on the founder’s part.”
Elizabeth Hayes
Staff Reporter- Portland Business Journal


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