–Preclinical data further elucidate potential of LIF inhibition to
TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Northern Biologics Inc., a developer of first-in-class immuno-oncology
products, today announced that its lead asset, MSC-1, is being featured
at key scientific meetings in April and May. Collectively, these data
further elucidate MSC-1’s mechanism of action and define its clinical
strategy as it nears initiation of a Phase I trial to treat advanced
relapsed or refractory solid tumors.
MSC-1 is a humanized antibody against a soluble cytokine called LIF (see
“About LIF” below). LIF plays a multi-faceted role in cancer, and as a
result inhibiting the target opens up two therapeutic avenues: reversal
of tumor immunosuppression and blockade of tumor growth via inhibition
of cancer initiating cells (CICs).
At the April 14-18 American Association for Cancer Research annual
meeting, Northern Biologics is reporting that MSC-1 decreased tumor
growth in multiple mouse tumor models and drove reprogramming of the
tumor microenvironment (TME) through differentiation of
immunosuppressive macrophages and modulation of other immune cell types.
These findings form the basis of a robust therapeutic hypothesis,
whereby MSC-1 treatment may lead to clinical activity in multiple
“The potential of LIF as a target in cancer and the therapeutic
potential of MSC-1 are generating significant interest in the scientific
and clinical communities,” said Philip Vickers, CEO of Northern
Also, at AACR, Northern Biologics is highlighting new key in vivo data
combining MSC-1 and a PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor that support using MSC-1
in combination therapy to inhibit tumor growth in the clinic.
“We look forward to presenting data this spring on the mechanistic
rationale for developing a first-in-class anti-LIF therapy for cancer,”
said Joan Seoane, a co-founder of Northern Biologics who is a professor
at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA) and
Vall d’Hebron University Hospital’s Institute of Oncology (VHIO).
Dr. Seoane also is the scientific organizer of a LIF-focused
meeting that is part of the European Association for Cancer
Research’s conference series. The May 28-29 meeting in Barcelona will
cover recent advances in the field of LIF from the basic science to
clinical studies. Dr. Jose Baselga (MSKCC), Dr. Tony Hunter (Salk
Institute) and Dr. Josep Tabernero (VHIO) are among the distinguished
speakers. At that meeting, Northern Biologics also will report recent
data for MSC-1 related to efficacy, pharmacology and emerging biomarker
“It is very gratifying to see such an outstanding list of speakers at
the LIF Conference. This further excites us as we ramp up clinical
studies at leading cancer centers around the world,” said Dr. Vickers.
LIF, or leukemia inhibitory factor, is an exciting emerging target in
the immuno-oncology space. Northern Co-Founder Joan Seoane first
elucidated a role for the cytokine in cancer in a seminal 2009
publication in Cancer Cell. Since that time, several independent
labs have demonstrated the role of LIF in many cancers. LIF is
hypothesized to contribute to tumor growth and progression by acting on
multiple aspects of cancer biology, including immunosuppression of the
tumor microenvironment (TME), and is a key regulator of cancer
initiating cells (CICs), which are thought to underpin tumor growth,
metastasis and resistance to therapy.
About Northern Biologics
Northern Biologics was launched in June 2014 by venture capital firm
Versant Ventures, in partnership with the University of Toronto and
University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
Headquartered in the MaRS Discovery District of Toronto, the company is
developing a portfolio of antibody-based therapeutics based on relevant
targets in the tumor microenvironment. Learn more at northernbiologics.com.
Steve Edelson, 415-801-8088