Parvus and Genentech Forge Autoimmune Collaboration

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Genentech aims to use Parvus’ technology to target IBD and Celiac.

Privately-held Parvus Therapeutics struck a deal with Genentech for the Burlingame, California-based company’s gastrointestinal inflammatory diseases treatment, Navacim.

Navacims are designed to trigger a naturally occurring immune-regulatory mechanism that evolved to protect against autoimmune disease. As selected for each disease, Navacims present a singular, peptide-major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) at supra-physiological density, targeting cognate T cell receptors (TCR) on disease-relevant T cells. Navacim binding causes a sustained assembly of TCR microclusters and prolonged signaling leading to disease-specific type 1 regulatory T (TR1) cell differentiation, according to data provided by Parvus.

Genentech and Parvus will work to target inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmune liver diseases (ALD) and celiac disease (CD). Under terms of the deal, Parvus will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible to receive research, development and commercialization milestone payments for each disease area within the collaboration. Parvus is also eligible to receive certain additional milestone payments in other disease areas, as well as royalties on net sales of products resulting from the collaboration.

In preclinical disease models, Navacims have demonstrated broad therapeutic activity and disease reversal across a range of autoimmune disorders including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, ALD and IBD while consistently preserving immune-competence to resist viral, microbial and tumor challenges, the company noted.

This marks the second collaboration for Parvus with a pharma giant. In 2017, the company forged an agreement with Novartis for the use of Navacim as a treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Parvus President and Chief Executive Officer Curtis Ruegg said the collaboration with Genentech, along with the Novartis deal, reinforces what the company’s belief in its Navacim immune-regulatory therapeutic platform.

“Partnering with Genentech will enable Parvus to expand the Navacim pipeline to address several debilitating autoimmune diseases in gastroenterology,” Ruegg said in a statement.

Parvus will conduct pre-clinical development and clinical development activities through Phase I for the various indications. If all goes as expected, Genentech will take over clinical development for Phase II and beyond, including regulatory submissions and potential commercialization.

“Parvus’ technology represents a potentially transformative approach for treating autoimmune diseases by inducing immune tolerance without causing generalized immune suppression,” James Sabry, global head of Pharma Partnering at Roche, Genentech’s parent company, said in a statement. “In preclinical testing, Parvus’ platform has shown the ability to induce and expand disease-specific regulatory T cells, which restore immune system balance and halt the autoimmune disease process. We look forward to working with the Parvus team to hopefully bring this exciting advancement to patients.”