REDWOOD CITY, Calif., April 29, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), today presented new discoveries related to the company's anti-cancer immuno-oncology pipeline during the company's first Research and Development (R&D) Day for analysts and investors.
"OncoMed has always been focused on developing transformative anti-cancer therapeutics, and the drug discovery efforts we apply to every program have led us to identify some truly first-in-class candidates targeting fundamental cancer stem cell and immuno-oncology pathways," said Paul J. Hastings, OncoMed's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "During today's R&D Day event, we showcased the clinical, translational medicine and research science taking place at OncoMed, unveiled emerging programs that haven't yet been in the spotlight, and provided an in-depth understanding of the way we think about drug discovery and development across our portfolio."
Among the highlights of OncoMed's R&D Day were data from a series of experiments that identified a novel immune therapy mechanism for demcizumab (anti-DLL4, OMP-21M18) and demonstrated synergistic activity when anti-DLL4 is combined with an anti-PD1 checkpoint inhibitor. Anti-DLL4 modulates T-cell response by reducing the accumulation of monocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a key population of immunosuppressive cells that inhibit anti-tumor immune responses that are otherwise not addressed by anti-PD1 therapy. When anti-DLL4 is combined with anti-PD1, researchers observed increased inhibition of tumor growth and more robust anti-tumor immune responses in immunocompetent xenograft models as compared to either agent alone. Further, the combination of anti-DLL4 and anti-PD1 reduced tumor growth in re-implantation experiments. These results indicate that dual targeting of DLL4 and PD1 may promote effective and durable cancer therapy by increasing anti-tumor immune response and long-term immunological memory. This research could provide the foundation for a novel clinical development strategy. These data were recently presented at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting.
A new approach, discovered by OncoMed researchers, to activate a known immune-oncology receptor was also disclosed publicly for the first time. GITR, a member of the tumor necrosis factor family, is known to be an important receptor in T-cell activation and regulation. OncoMed scientists have devised a novel strategy for the creation of robust T cell activating agents that utilizes fully human single-gene GITRL trimeric ligand attached to an antibody framework. The unique design of OncoMed's proprietary strategy also enables the creation of novel bispecific agents. In preclinical studies, OncoMed's GITRL-Fc candidate results in a potent anti-tumor immune response.
A third example of OncoMed's immuno-oncology research efforts revealed the discovery of a novel and previously "missing" checkpoint target. Tumor cells are believed to take advantage of the immune system's so called "checkpoints" to escape detection. While significant advances have been made in the understanding of checkpoint inhibitors, a number of orphan targets exist and these have been the subject of extensive research by OncoMed scientists for several years. One outcome of these efforts is discovery of a receptor (nicknamed "PD2"), which appears to be an activating receptor for the known checkpoint inhibitor PD-L2. Initial research by OncoMed demonstrates that "PD2" mediates important immunological functions associated with PD-L2. Activation of PD-L2 may provide an entirely new pathway by which to engage the body's own immune system in combatting tumor cells.
In addition, OncoMed's 2015 R&D Day included presentations of recently updated clinical data for demcizumab and tarextumab (anti-Notch2/3, OM59R5) that represent the foundation for the company's four ongoing randomized Phase 2 clinical trials. Additionally, clinical and preclinical proof-of-concept data were presented for two of the company's biomarker assays in development, and overview of OncoMed's approach to elucidating cancer biology to identify and validate new leads and inform clinical trial design.
OncoMed's 2015 R&D Day also featured special guest speakers. Manuel Hidalgo, MD, PhD, Vice Director of Translational Research, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), shared his experience as an investigator in the company's demcizumab clinical trials in pancreatic cancer. Jorge DiMartino, MD, PhD, Vice President, Translational Development of Celgene Corporation provided a presentation on Celgene's multi-product collaboration with OncoMed and the research that initially piqued Celgene's interest.
A webcast of the R&D Day presentations can be accessed under the Investor Relations section of the company's website (
About OncoMed Pharmaceuticals
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells (CSCs). OncoMed has six anti-cancer product candidates in clinical development, the most advanced of which are in randomized Phase 2 clinical trials. Demcizumab (anti-DLL4, OMP-21M18), tarextumab (anti-Notch2/3, OMP-59R5), brontictuzumab (anti-Notch1, OMP-52M51), anti-DLL4/VEGF bispecific antibody (OMP-305B83), vantictumab (anti-FZD7, OMP-18R5), and ipafricept (FZD8-Fc, OMP-54F28) each target key cancer stem cell signaling pathways including Notch and Wnt. OncoMed recently filed an Investigational New Drug application for anti-RSPO3 (OMP-131R10), an antibody targeting a third key cancer stem cell signaling pathway called R-spondin-LGR. OncoMed is also pursuing discovery of additional novel anti-CSC and cancer immuno-oncology product candidates. OncoMed has formed strategic alliances with Celgene Corporation, Bayer Pharma AG and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Additional information can be found at the company's website:
To the extent that statements contained in this press release are not descriptions of historical facts regarding OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, they are forward-looking statements reflecting the current beliefs and expectations of management made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including OncoMed's expectations regarding the possibility of the dual targeting of DLL4 and PD1 to promote effective and durable cancer therapy by increasing anti-tumor immune response and promoting long-term immunological memory and to provide the foundation for a novel clinical development strategy; and the possibility of PD-L2 and/or its receptor providing a new pathway by which to engage the body's own immune system in combatting tumor cells. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause OncoMed's clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the preclinical and clinical development process; the risks and uncertainties of the regulatory approval process; OncoMed's dependence on its collaboration partners, including Celgene, GSK and Bayer, for the funding of its partnered programs; OncoMed's ability to raise additional capital to support the development of its unpartnered programs; OncoMed's dependence on the development and marketing efforts of its partners for the commercial success of its partnered product candidates; OncoMed's reliance on third parties to conduct certain preclinical studies and all of its clinical trials; OncoMed's reliance on single source third-party contract manufacturing organizations to manufacture and supply its product candidates; OncoMed's ability to validate, develop and obtain regulatory approval for companion diagnostics; OncoMed's ability to achieve market acceptance and commercial success of its product candidates once regulatory approval is achieved; OncoMed's ability to discover, develop and commercialize additional product candidates; the ability of competitors to discover, develop or commercialize competing products more quickly or more successfully; OncoMed's dependence on its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, its Chief Scientific Officer, its Chief Medical Officer and other key executives; risk of third party claims alleging infringement of patents and proprietary rights or seeking to invalidate OncoMed's patents or proprietary rights; and the ability of OncoMed's proprietary rights to protect its technologies and product candidates. OncoMed undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to OncoMed's business in general, see OncoMed's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2014, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on March 12, 2015.
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