Ovarian Cancer Immunotherapy
CD40 ligand (CD40L) and antibodies that stimulate the CD40 receptor have been clinically tested in human cancer. Immunex/Amgen developed a soluble trimer form of CD40L (sCD40LT, Avrend™) and used it to cure one patient with metastatic laryngeal cancer (no evidence of disease four years later (RH Vonderheide et al., J Clin Oncol 19:3280-7, 2001). More recently, Pfizer tested an "agonistic antibody" to CD40 and showed objective responses in pancreatic cancer (GL Beatty et al, Science 331:1612-6, 2011). However, Amgen discontinued the development of Avrend and Pfizer has outlicensed CP-870,893. Only Multimeric continues to advance CD40L as a treatment for cancer.
The prospects for using CD40L to treat ovarian cancer are especially promising for two reasons:
(1) All human ovarian cancer cells express the CD40 receptor and, remarkably, are killed when treated with CD40L, as reported by three groups: S. Ghamande et al., Cancer Res 61:7556-7562, 2001;
N.J. Gallagher et al., Mol Pathol 55:110-120, 2002; and B. Melichar et al., Gynecol Oncol 104:707-713, 2007.
(2) CD40L is a very strong stimulator of anti-tumor immunity and can lead to cure of ovarian cancer in a mouse model: U.K. Scarlett et al., Cancer Res 69:7329-7339, 2009.
Consequently, Multimeric believes that intraperitoneal treatment with MegaCD40L™ will lead to a one-two punch against of ovarian cancer: (1) direct killing of the cancer cells without the toxic effects of chemotherapy; and (2) immunological eradication of any cancer cells that remain.
The Company is now seeking investors who can help it advance this therapeutic vision for ovarian cancer.