Boston's PureTech Gives Birth to New Biotech and Its Name is Nybo Therapeutics

Published: Apr 12, 2017

Boston's PureTech Gives Birth to New Biotech and Its Name is Nybo Therapeutics April 12, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

BOSTON – PureTech Health is launching a new immuno-oncology division to develop monoclonal antibodies targeting newly discovered immunosuppressive mechanisms in pancreatic cancer and other solid tumors.

The new company, dubbed Nybo Therapeutics, will use technology developed by George Miller, director of the Cancer Immunology Program at the New York University School of Medicine. Joseph Bolen, chief scientific officer of PureTech Health, touted Miller’s work in pancreatic ductal carcinoma. In a statement announcing Nybo, Bolen said Miller’s research has “revealed that inflammatory processes drive the immunosuppression through certain gamma delta T cells and macrophages.

“We will be exploring both pancreatic cancer and other solid tumor types such as colorectal cancer. In addition to monotherapy, Miller’s work suggests that this approach may enhance the effect of checkpoint inhibitors that have historically not worked in pancreatic cancer opening up the possibility of combination therapy,” Aleksandra Filipovic, therapeutic lead for oncology at PureTech, said in a statement.

Miller’s technology has been licensed by PureTech for exclusive use by Nybo Therapeutics. Diane Simeone, director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at NYU School of Medicine and a member of Nybo’s Scientific Advisory Board, said in a statement that there has not been enough progress in developing “meaningful treatments” for pancreatic cancer, which has a “five-year survival rate in the single digits.”

“Novel therapeutic approaches are important to pursue, and I look forward to helping advance this promising technology,” Simeone said. “Our work on immunosuppressive mechanisms in pancreatic cancer has shed light on new therapeutic approaches that form the foundation for Nybo, and we look forward to a great partnership with PureTech Health with whom to advance these findings.”

In addition to Simeone, Nybo Therapeutics launches with a number of noted scientific advisers, including:

Erin Adams, a member of the Committees of Immunology and Cancer Biology at the University of Chicago. Adams research is focused on “understanding how events at the molecular level allow the immune system to differentiate between self and non-self with particular attention given to nonconventional T cell recognition, such as that of gamma delta T cells.”

Elizabeth Jaffee, the deputy director for the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

Steven Leach, director of the David M. Rubenstein Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research of Memorial Sloan-Kettering.

George Miller, head of Perlmutter Cancer Center’s Immunology Program. He is also the director of the only training program in the country in gastrointestinal oncology that is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Last month PureTech struck a licensing deal with Novartis to advance two clinical programs targeting the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 pathway. Phase IIb studies are expected to begin later this year. Shares of PureTech are down this morning, trading at $114.

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