Waltham, Massachusetts-based Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on developing Glycoimmune Checkpoint Inhibitors to treat cancer, announced an agreement with King’s College London to license intellectual property developed in the laboratory of Joy Burchell, Ph.D., Professor of Glyco-Oncology at the university.
“This agreement gives Palleon the exclusive rights to a patent portfolio that will facilitate the development of drugs that target Glycoimmune Checkpoints, a novel approach to overcoming resistance to first-generation immuno-oncology drugs,” said Palleon.
“Professor Burchell has been a leader in the field of aberrant glycosylation in breast cancer for over 25 years.
“Earlier in her career she developed tools that demonstrated that more than 90% of breast cancers, and many other carcinomas, carry glycans that are different from those carried by proteins on normal cells.
“She was the first to show that a mucin known as MUC1 is present in the sera of breast cancer patients.
“This discovery enabled the development of the CA15.3 test, a serum assay used to measure the response to breast cancer treatment and to monitor recurrence of breast cancer.
“More recently, Professor Burchell has been investigating how aberrant glycosylation of MUC1 plays a significant role in immunosuppression and allows the cancer to thrive.”
Jim Broderick, CEO of Palleon, said: “Professor Burchell’s research is at the forefront of understanding how tumors use glycans to evade the immune system.
“We now know that tumor cells down-regulate a wide spectrum of immune cell types by cloaking themselves in certain glycan patterns, and that this mechanism of immunosuppression can be targeted by a new class of drugs.
“This licensing agreement strengthens Palleon’s position as the leader in this new approach to defeating cancer’s suppression of the human immune system.”
Burchell said: “We have known about the alteration of glycans on the surface of malignant cells for decades.
“However, recent discoveries in the field of glycoscience have demonstrated the role of glycans in immunosuppression.
“Glycobiology is now emerging as a major axis of immunosuppression in cancer.
“We expect these findings to provide the foundation for developing immuno-oncology drugs that will have a significant impact on the lives of patients.”