Despite decades of progress, cancer still remains one of the world’s most serious health problems, making it an important therapeutic area in which to apply our innovative R&D approach. We have several drug candidates in the pipeline for oncology.
Regeneron's approach in oncology is multi-faceted.
Immuno-oncology rests upon the concept that the body’s own immune system can be unleashed or re-engaged to attack, eliminate or control cancer. We believe that the most successful approaches will combine multiple innovative therapies acting on different pathways and targets, both in the patient’s tumor as well as in their immune response, to precisely tailor the best treatments for the individual. This integrative and holistic approach to understanding tumor and host biology to develop new therapies is an exciting challenge to our highly innovative and collaborative research and development groups.
REGN2810 (anti-PD-1 antibody)
REGN2810 is a fully human antibody directed to the PD-1 receptor that blocks the interaction of PD-1 with its ligands, PD-L1 and PD-L2, and is our first checkpoint inhibitor in the clinic. REGN2810 is being investigated in solid tumors either as monotherapy or in combination with various other treatments to strengthen an effective immune response to tumor antigens. This compound is being developed as part of our immuno-oncology collaboration with Sanofi.
“Checkpoints” are part of the normal and intricate control system that regulates the strength and focus of immune responses. Some cancers appear able to trigger these checkpoints, halting a normal and effective anti-tumor immune response. Antibodies that block the checkpoint signals by targeting molecules like PD-1 and interrupt this pathway can “release the brake” and help the immune system control the tumor.
Beyond PD-1, pre-clinical targets being explored include antibodies to other checkpoints such as lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (LAG3), as well as activation molecules that may augment an antigen specific immune response, such as glucocorticoid-induced tumor-necrosis-factor-receptor-related protein (GITR).
REGN1979 (anti-CD20 x anti-CD3 antibody)
REGN1979 is a bi-specific antibody that simultaneously targets CD20 on B cells and CD3 receptors on T-cells, and is our first bi-specific antibody in the clinic. REGN1979 is being studied in patients with B-cell malignancies, such as lymphoma, that express CD20 and have progressed after prior treatments with conventional CD20 targeting antibodies.
The antibody is “bi-specific” because its two arms are able to bind to two different targets, versus traditional monoclonal antibodies where both arms bind to the same target. One arm of REGN1979 binds to the CD3 cell surface protein on immune T cells and the other arm binds to the CD20 protein on cancerous B-cells. The tight connection is designed to result in a local and specific activation of the T-cell to kill the tumor cell.
Our bi-specific antibodies are developed using our VelociSuite technologies, which enable the efficient production of bi-specific antibodies that are otherwise similar to natural antibodies. In addition to REGN1979, several bi-specific antibodies targeting hematologic and solid cancers are being advanced, either as monotherapies or in combination with other immune modulating treatments.
Regeneron has a long history of innovative research in the area of anti-angiogenesis – or disrupting the flow of blood to tumors by binding particular proteins that stimulate the formation of new blood vessels. These efforts have resulted in the successful development by Sanofi and Regeneron of ZALTRAP® (ziv-aflibercept).
Regeneron continues to investigate the potential of novel approaches to inhibit angiogenesis, as well as the possibility of these treatments combining with immune therapy approaches.
Regeneron continues to explore antibodies that target tumor specific antigens in order to interrupt essential growth signals transmitted to the tumor cell, or to deliver highly potent toxins to selectively kill the cancer cells (antibody drug conjugates or ADCs).