SOURCE: Commence Bio

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June 20, 2016 18:45 ET

Commence Bio Receives 1st Patent for MSC1: A New Cancer Immunotherapy Platform

SPARKS, MD --(Marketwired - June 20, 2016) - Commence Bio, Inc. (Commence) today announced the issuance of a patent covering the company's STaRT 41 technology utilized for producing MSC1 cells. Representing a new class of cell-based therapy, the MSC1 platform is expected to provide oncologists with a powerful new tool in the fight against cancer.

"We're happy to see MSC1 join other promising cellular immunotherapies in development -- like CAR-T, NK, and dendritic cells," said Thomas Isett, President and CEO of Commence. "MSC1 cells are an important addition to the arsenal, as they can be used against solid tumors, have an excellent safety profile in pre-clinical models of disease, and can be available as an allogeneic, 'off-the-shelf' therapy," he said.

The MSC1 cell type is derived from mesenchymal stromal/stem cells [MSCs], which in their unstimulated, naïve state have long been a target for clinical study given their inherent anti-inflammatory properties and ability to migrate to sites of immune dysfunction. However, with the advent of STaRT 41, naïve MSCs can now be reprogrammed to a pro-inflammatory phenotype via selective stimulation of Toll-like receptors [TLRs], enabling their broader use in immuno-oncology.

"Selective stimulation of TLR4 yields a uniform MSC1 cell population with broad immunomodulatory properties," said Dr. Aline Betancourt, Founder and CSO of Commence. "The potent anti-tumor action we observe is in part attributable to increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL17, GM-CSF and the TRAIL molecule, along with the recruitment of inflammatory lymphocytes and mast cell degranulation in the tumor microenvironment," she explains, "and that is only part of the mechanism-of-action story."

US Patent No. 9,321,994 covers the methods and cell culture media necessary to induce the MSC1 phenotype from naïve MSCs. "We're confident that this is the first of many patents on STaRT," said Isett, "and the beginning of an extensive intellectual property portfolio that includes applications in human and veterinary medicine, stem cell research, and 3D bioprinting."

About Stimulated Toll-like Receptor Technology [STaRT]

STaRT is inspired by nature, in that it utilizes mimetics for the body's wound-healing signals to program mesenchymal stem cells [MSC] as either anti-tumor (MSC1) or anti-inflammatory (MSC2) phenotypes. Building on the favorable safety profile of naïve MSCs and their appreciable anti-inflammatory properties, STaRT 32 applies stimulation of Toll-Like Receptor 3 [TLR3] to create MSC2s -- a uniform, more potent population of cells with enhanced anti-inflammatory action. STaRT 41 involves stimulation of TLR4 to create MSC1 cells, a breakthrough use of MSCs as a new cancer immunotherapy that safely re-awakens innate and adaptive immune responses.

About Commence Bio

Commence Bio, Inc., is a pre-clinical biotechnology company founded on the vision that cancer and inflammatory diseases can be optimally treated by rebooting patients' immune systems with a new class of medicinal stem cells: MSC1 & MSC2. Through the use of proprietary Stimulated Toll-like Receptor Technology [STaRT], adult, allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells [MSCs] are transformed into powerful immunomodulators that migrate to the sites of dysfunction and -- via a multi-pronged effect -- reboot an appropriate immune response. MSC1 and MSC2 have proven to be safe, potent, efficacious immunotherapies in seven pre-clinical models of disease, including ovarian cancer, demyelinating diseases (i.e. multiple sclerosis and Krabbe disease), acute lung injury/ARDS, Crohn's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetic neuropathic pain. Commence Bio is the STaRT of something big in immunotherapy.

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