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Novartis enters into alliance and licensing agreement with Surface Oncology.
Novartis announced on Jan. 11, 2016 the company will be adding to its immuno-oncology pipeline through an alliance and licensing agreement with Surface Oncology. The agreement gives Novartis access to four pre-clinical programs that target regulatory T-cell populations, inhibitory cytokines, and immunosuppressive metabolites in the tumor microenvironment. These programs will be explored as monotherapies and in combination with other complementary therapies in Novartis' immuno-oncology and targeted therapy portfolios.
At the start of 2015, Novartis launched a new immuno-oncology research team led by Glenn Dranoff, MD, PhD. Today the company's immuno-oncology portfolio includes novel checkpoint inhibitors, chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CART) technology, myeloid cell targeting agents, the T cell stimulating factor IL-15, stimulator of interferon genes (STING) agonists that enhance immune recognition of cancers, and adenosine receptor antagonists and transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta blocking antibodies that overcome immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment.
Seven of these candidates are already in clinical trials, and five more are expected to enter the clinic individually and as combinations by the end of 2016. Novartis' myeloid cell targeting program (MCS110), anti-TIM-3 program (MGB453), IL-15-agonist (NIZ985) checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-1 (PDR001) and LAG-3 (LAG525), and a small molecule adenosine receptor antagonist (NIR178) are now in Phase I clinical trials. The CART program (CTL019) is in Phase II clinical trials. A STING agonist (MIW815), a glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor family receptor agonist, and an anti-TGF-beta antibody are progressing toward first-in-human clinical trials in 2016.