Boehringer Ingelheim licenses multiple Dark Antigens® from Enara Bio to develop off-the-shelf immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

Boehringer Ingelheim licenses multiple Dark Antigens® from Enara Bio to develop off-the-shelf immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)




Boehringer Ingelheim licenses multiple Dark Antigens® from Enara Bio to develop off-the-shelf immunotherapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)

  • Licensed antigens are shared across major subsets of NSCLC and have confirmed presence on the surface of tumor cells, homogeneous expression within tumors, and strong immunogenicity
  • Boehringer Ingelheim will be responsible for all non-clinical and clinical development, as well as commercialization, of cancer immunotherapies based on the licensed antigens
  • Dark Antigens are a rich source of novel cancer-specific targets derived from regions of the genome historically thought to be non-coding, known as the genomic dark matter

Oxford, UK – January 04, 2024. Enara Bio today announces that Boehringer Ingelheim has exercised its option to license a number of cancer antigens discovered and validated through the ongoing collaboration using Enara Bio’s Dark Antigen discovery platform, EDAPT®. This licensing event is a major milestone in the strategic collaboration between the companies that was announced in January 2021. Based on the licensed antigens, Boehringer intends to develop novel off-the-shelf vaccines for the treatment of patients with NSCLC.

Despite new treatment options, lung cancer remains the most common cause of cancer death worldwide. Globally, the number of cases of lung cancer is estimated to rise from 2.1 million in 2018 to 3.6 million in 2040. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer, accounting for approximately 85% of cases.

Under the collaboration, Enara Bio’s EDAPT platform is being used to discover and validate Dark Antigens in multiple solid tumor types. The initial discovery project identified a series of antigens with high prevalence in NSCLC patients. During the antigen validation work package, Enara Bio demonstrated that the licensed antigens have several attractive characteristics as targets for immunotherapies. These include confirmed presence on the surface of tumor cells, minimal or no expression on healthy cells, homogenous expression within tumors, and strong immunogenicity. In addition to licensing these antigens, Boehringer Ingelheim has triggered the remaining component of the collaboration to initiate antigen discovery in another solid tumor.

“As the leader in exploring the hidden depths of cancer biology to discover and characterize Dark Antigens, we are delighted that Boehringer Ingelheim has decided to exercise its first option to license Dark Antigens identified under our partnership,” said Kevin Pojasek, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Enara Bio. “We are proud to have successfully delivered on this exciting partnership, which validates our science and further highlights the potential of Dark Antigens to address the need for novel, cancer-specific targets in solid tumors. We look forward to continuing our work with the Boehringer Ingelheim team, as well as advancing our own projects to discover Dark Antigens and develop TCR-based immunotherapies.”

Lamine Mbow, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Global Head, Cancer Immunology & Immune Modulation, Boehringer Ingelheim, commented: “We are looking forward to bringing transformative new treatments based on the novel antigens discovered with our partner, Enara Bio, to cancer patients and to continue the successful collaboration to find more new antigens.”

Dark Antigens are a novel and differentiated class of cancer-specific targets derived from regions of the genome historically thought not to be encoding proteins. While usually silenced in healthy cells, altered cellular processes in cancer cells lead to the transcription of Dark Antigen-encoding sequences and presentation of novel peptide antigens on the tumor cell surface. Dark Antigens are found in all major solid tumors, irrespective of the immune phenotype of the tumor, and are often expressed at high prevalence across multiple tumor types.

About EDAPT® Platform
Enara Bio developed a platform called EDAPT to pioneer the discovery and validation of Dark Antigen targets for the development of cancer immunotherapies. EDAPT combines de novo bioinformatics databases with cutting-edge immunopeptidomics of tumor and healthy tissues and RNA in situ hybridization. This integrated approach enables Enara to confirm the presence of Dark Antigens on the surface of human tumor cells, validate their cancer-specificity, and demonstrate homogenous intratumoral expression.

For more information on Dark Antigens and the EDAPT platform, please visit: https://enarabio.com/technology

About Enara Bio
Enara Bio is shining a light on Dark Antigen® and T-cell biology to develop cancer immunotherapies designed to improve treatment outcomes for broad populations of cancer patients. Our pioneering EDAPT® platform enables us to discover novel cancer-specific antigens from previously uncharted genomic ‘dark matter’. The result is a growing database of Dark Antigens that can address the unmet need for cancer-specific targets that are homogenously expressed and highly prevalent in solid tumors. We are advancing multiple approaches to exploit these Dark Antigen targets, with an internal focus on TCR-directed immunotherapies, and therapeutic partnerships with Boehringer Ingelheim and another undisclosed global pharmaceutical company. Based in Oxford, UK, Enara Bio is backed by RA Capital, Samsara Biocapital and SV Health Investors. For more information, please visit: www.enarabio.com

Enara Bio Media Contact
Frazer Hall, Mark Swallow
MEDiSTRAVA Consulting
enarabio@medistrava.com

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