Sön 14 aug / År 40 / Nr 3 2022

Active Biotech develops first-in-class targets

Active Biotech is aa company that develops pharmaceutical products within medical areas where the immune defence is significant, including cancer and inflammatory diseases. All of Active Biotech’s leads are first-in-class, unique targets that open completely new opportunities.

Helen Tuvesson, CEO

Active Biotech is based in Lund, Sweden, and was formed in 1998 as a spin-off from Pharmacia & Upjohn. Active Biotech has three programs in development, the wholly owned projects tasquinimod and laquinimod, and naptumomab in partnership with NeoTX Therapeutics Ltd (NeoTX).

First-in-class immunomodulator

Laquinimod is a first-in-class immunomodulator with a novel mode of action that is developed for treatment of severe inflammatory eye diseases, such as uveitis. At the end of April this year, Active Biotech was issued a grant by the European Patent Office for the use of laquinimod.

The patent covers the medical use of laquinimod for treatment of sight-threatening eye disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD), corneal neovascularisation, choroidal neovascularisation, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity and ischemic retinopathy.

“We work continuously and diligently with our patent portfolios aiming at creating comprehensive patent protection around our development programs and especially optimise the protection in disease areas that we are targeting with our projects. The now granted European patent of laquinimod further strengthens the protection of laquinimod in devastating eye disorders with high medical need”, said Helen Tuvesson, CEO.

Treating hematological malignancies

Tasquinimod is a small molecule immunomodulator and represents a new drug class with a mode of action that is complementary to current therapies. Tasquinimod is developed for the treatment of hematological malignancies with high medical need. Currently a clinical study is conducted in multiple myeloma in an academic partnership with Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Recently, Active Biotech entered into a global patent license agreement with Oncode Institute for tasquinimod in myelofibrosis. Under the agreement, Oncode Institute grants to Active Biotech a global exclusive license to develop and commercialise tasquinimod in myelofibrosis. Oncode Institute will also fund the initial clinical study in myelofibrosis that is planned to be initiated early 2023.

Tumour targeting immunotherapy

Naptumomab is a tumour targeting immunotherapy that enhances the ability of the immune system to recognise and kill the tumour. Naptumomab is developed for treatment of solid tumours by Active Biotech’s partner NeoTX.

In October last year, Active Biotech reported that the first patient was enrolled in a phase IIa study with naptumomab in combination with docetaxel in patients with progressive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The primary endpoint is objective response rate, with secondary endpoints including response duration and survival.

New exciting preclinical data from the combination of naptumomab and CAR-T cells were presented in the US in November 2021 with the data presented suggesting that naptumomab enhances CAR-T cells potency and can boost CAR-T efficacy against solid tumours.

“During 2021 we saw significant progress in our projects, and for 2022 we have several planned clinical milestones to reach as well”, concludes Helen Tuvesson.