Progenra Discovers Novel Immune Oncology Drug

MALVERN, PA, Dec 15, 2016 — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Progenra, Inc. announced a new immune-oncology drug whose mechanism differs from available cancer immunotherapies Opdivo and Keytruda. The findings, published by Progenra with Dr. Wayne Hancock, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, support a new immune-oncology antitumor strategy by inhibiting USP7, an enzyme that prevents immune activity against cancer in addition to supporting the growth of cancer cells. According to a commentary on this publication, inhibiting USP7 works on T cells to diminish immunosuppression, permitting the patient’s own immune system to eliminate cancer (“the data by Wang and colleagues proposes a potential immunotherapy against tumors by targeting USP7, which … breaks the immune tolerance in the tumor microenvironment”… “these preclinical findings suggest that USP7 targeting … as well as directly induce tumor cell apoptosis, could have practical significance in clinical applications”).

“We are pleased that Progenra’s unique UbiPro™ Drug Discovery Platform is gaining traction outside the US and that a major pharmaceutical company such as Ono has agreed to collaborate with Progenra on the ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like protein pathways”

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“We are pleased that Progenra’s USP7 inhibitors, tested in several laboratories worldwide, can eradicate cancers by both tumoricidal and immunological mechanisms,” said Tauseef Butt, President of Progenra. “We are excited to move USP7 inhibitors into clinical trial as single agents or combined with marketed immunological agents such as Opdivo and Keytruda.”

Dr. Hancock added,” Immunotherapy must do more than affect a single target, since those approaches help only about 20% of patients. Pharmacologic inhibition of USP7 allows direct targeting through the immune system, in a graded manner that has antitumor efficacy used alone or combined with one or more biologic agents.”.

Progenra ( aims to develop high value medicines exploiting protein regulatory pathways. Its early product portfolio addresses unmet needs in cancer, inflammation, and neurodegeneration. Utilizing its drug discovery platform, Progenra identifies novel modulators of its protein regulatory targets for drug development; the company’s discovery platform is complemented by internal target validation, cell proof of concept, and medicinal chemistry.

Dr. Wayne Hancock is Professor of Pathology/Laboratory Medicine at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Chief, Division of Transplant Immunology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His multidisciplinary team focuses on improving outcomes of organ transplantation and cancer immunotherapy by modulating immune cell production and function.