Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s cells and tissues. Few therapies address the underlying causes of the disease and those that do often cause a generalized immune suppression, to the point that the immune system cannot mount a proper response leading to severe side effects such as the inability to fight infection or control cancers. The side effects from some treatments are so severe that many patients stop treatment even if they are somewhat effective.
Existing therapies can also require daily medication or periodic hospital infusions.
Most other drugs simply alleviate the symptoms or temporarily halt the immune attack.
For all autoimmune disorders there are no cures and innovation is needed.
Imotopes™ are simple peptide molecules, injected aperiodically, which stimulate an immune response that blocks the autoimmune pathways. They have the potential to have long lasting effects that stop the progression of the disease.
Current therapies are generally:
F.e. against anti CD19 or CD20 positive cells or certain immune modulators such as anti TNF antibodies
PROTEINS & SMALL MOLECULES
CELL BASED THERAPIES
Unspecific – cause a generalized immune suppression of both the disease pathways but also the important pathways of the immune system
Antigen specific – ImotopesTM only suppress the disease pathway which allows for highly effective tailored therapy
Significant side effects – due to immune suppression, increased risk of infection and inability to control cancers
Good Safety Profile – targeting the disease pathway only while we leave the rest of the immune system functioning
Require frequent dosing – often requires daily medication or periodic hospital based infusions
Long lasting – ImotopesTM are administered like a vaccine, inducing long lasting effects through the induction of memory cells
Challenging and expensive to manufacture
Although highly specific, Imotopes™ are short peptides made with standard pharmaceutical processes, easily synthesized and stable. The do not have the challenges of therapies such as cell based products
Autoantigens are natural proteins that are immunogenic when normal tolerance is broken (where the body’s immune system sees them as “foreign” and begins to mount an immune response).
Imotopes™ are short peptides that simulate an immune response to rebalance the aberrant autoimmune response. We take a sequence from the autoantigen called epitope (the light blue) and construct our peptide from that core. Importantly we add a sequence from the thioredoxin enzyme (the red) to give this peptide its biological effect.
When ImotopesTM are injected, they stimulate a new class of immune cells, called cytolytic CD4+ cells that specifically targets the disease pathway and knocks out a key cells in the autoimmune cascade. Importantly, these cytolytic T cells do not affect the rest of the immune system which continues to function. By interrupting the autoimmune cascade, Imotopes™ prevents further tissue damage and halts disease progression.
Imotopes™ also induce memory cytolytic CD4+ T cells, which provide long-lasting treatment effects with infrequent dosing, like a vaccine.
In addition to autoimmune diseases, Imcyse’s technology has potential in allergy, cancer and other diseases.
The technology could also be applied as an “add-on” therapy to other drugs or biologics to prevent the progression of immunogenicity and loss of efficacy with chronic administration - such as with monoclonal antibodies or replacement enzymes. Furthermore, it may eliminate the immune response against the viral vectors that are used in gene therapies.
cCD4 T cells
Ethan M. Shevach, Immunity 2009
Desiree A. Anthony et al. Immunological Reviews 2010
M Ramaswamy et al. Cell Death and Differentiation 2011
Debora M. Brown et al. Frontiers in Immunology 2016
Jennifer A. Juno et al. Frontiers in Immunology 2017
Margaux Saillard et al. Vaccines 2021
Th17 pathogenic cells
Laura A. Tesmer et al. Immunology Review 2008
Pierre Miossec and Jay K. Kolls, Nature Reviews | Drug Discovery 2012
Hilary S. Bartlett and Ryan P. Million, Nature Reviews | Drug Discovery 2015
Keiko Yasuda et al. Seminars in immunopathology 2019
Ashish K. Marwaha et al. Immunotherapy Advances 2022