RON kinase—an immuno-oncology target expressed on the macrophage, whose inhibition could enhance T-cell activity. We have an ongoing collaboration with the Huntsman Institute in Utah studying the effects of RON inhibition. RON kinase activation may lead to the formation of macrophages with an M2 phenotype, which are tumour supportive. By inhibiting RON, the macrophage type 1 phenotype may be preferred and this phenotype is tumour suppressive, releasing cytokines that can potentially enhance the activity of T-cells. This may lead to synergistic activity when combined with PD1 or CTLA4 inhibitors. We have started development of a fully human monoclonal antibody against the extracellular domain of RON kinase. The asset was licensed from ETPL’s P53 Laboratory.
Modybodies—single heavy chain fragment antibodies. We are collaborating with Nanyang Technological University, or NTU, in Singapore on a novel antibody fragment technology called Modybodies, which are stabilised heavy chains that are one tenth the size of a conventional antibody and consequently can target domains that cannot be accessed by much larger monoclonal antibodies. Modybodies can be rapidly isolated and selected for high binding affinity and good stability. Modybodies can also be easily linked together to make molecules that can bind to more than one target in the same therapeutic molecule. Modybodies may have advantages over other antibody fragment technologies as they are fully human and potentially less immunogenic. Under the collaboration, NTU plans to generate Modybodies by phage display library screening against three specific immuno-oncology targets. When Modybodies are generated with properties that meet an agreed candidate drug target profile, we may progress them into preclinical and clinical development.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore’s lead public sector agency that spearheads economic oriented research to advance scientific discovery and develop innovative technology. Through open innovation, A*STAR collaborates with its partners in both the public and private sectors to benefit society. As a Science and Technology Organisation, A*STAR bridges the gap between academia and industry. The research creates economic growth and jobs for Singapore, and enhances lives by contributing to societal benefits such as improving outcomes in healthcare, urban living, and sustainability.
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A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London. NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI), Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) and the Institute on Asian Consumer Insight (ACI).
To learn more about NTU, please visit www.ntu.edu.sg