Aqualung Therapeutics, an early-stage biotech company developing an anti-inflammatory therapeutic platform for patients with serious unchecked inflammatory disease, has published proof of concept studies in EBio Medicine suggesting eNAMPT as a potential biomarker for the severity of invasive Prostate Cancer (PCa), and eNAMPT- neutralization as an effective therapeutic approach to limit PCa invasion and progression. Based on these findings, Aqualung has added Edwin M. Posadas MD, FACP to the Scientific Advisory Board.
Other than skin cancer, PCa is the most common cancer in American men. The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Each year there are greater than 160,000 new PCa cases and nearly 30,000 deaths. There is an unmet need to reduce PCa morbidity and mortality, a goal that requires identification of risk factors that influence prostate cancer escape from the gland and metastatic progression.
Innate immunity pathways involving locally-produced and circulating chemokines/cytokines are known to be intimately involved in the progression to aggressive and advanced PCa. ALT identified extracellularly-secreted NAMPT (eNAMPT) as a key innate immunity regulator and potent inflammatory cytokine via binding to the Toll-like receptor 4. The EBio Medicine publication highlights several novel observations including the strong NAMPT expression in invasive prostate cancer tissues and the significant elevation of plasma eNAMPT in men with PCa; especially men with extraprostatic invasion i.e. with PCa that has escaped the prostatic capsule.
The EBio Medicine publication further demonstrates eNAMPT to be a highly druggable target amenable to eNAMPT-neutralizing biologic therapy in preventing PCa invasion. Therapeutic targeting of eNAMPT may antagonize and potentially delay the switch to aggressive, invasive disease in androgen deprivation therapy-resistant PCa and prevent PCa progression.
“We are excited about findings conveyed in our EBio Medicine publication for several reasons. First, Aqualung may have identified a novel biomarker that alone, or potentially combined with PSA, may determine men at higher risk of developing metastatic PCa. Second, eNAMPT is obviously a novel, highly druggable PCa target for our humanized eNAMPT-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies ALT100/200, a priority for internal drug development” says CEO and founder Joe GN Garcia MD. “ALT-200 potentially addresses a key unmet medical need for PCa patients who are part of the “watch and wait” regimen after early diagnosis of PCa. Our antibody and biomarker platform could be a game changer for this patient group with potentially evolving metastatic disease. If we have a drug therapy to slow this progression based on neutralizing eNAMPT, this may prolong PCa confinement within the gland.”
In order to accelerateALT-100/200 mAB drug development for this indication, ALT has added Edwin M. Posadas, MD FACP to Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Posadas is an accomplished physician scientist and Director of the Translational Oncology Program and the Medical Director of the Urologic Oncology Program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Posadas has both clinical and research interests in the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and the biology of cancer metastasis. “Dr Posadas is an exceptional addition to our SAB and ALT team as we look to advance the scientific thesis of eNAMPT as a target in the treatment of PCa over the coming months” said Stan Miele, President and CBO for Aqualung.
About Aqualung Therapeutics Corporation
Aqualung is an early-stage biotech company developing immune-focused therapeutic antibodies for patients suffering from disorders characterized by acute and chronic lung and systemic inflammation. Founded in 2016 and led by a physician scientist, Aqualung’s science-driven approaches led to the identification of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) as a key protein target in life-threatening inflammatory disorders. Aqualung Therapeutics has developed eNamptor™, a Next Gen platform comprised of : i) ALT 100/200, humanized eNAMPT-neutralizing monoclonal antibodies; ii) eNAMPT-Plex, a plasma-based biomarker panel of cytokines (including eNAMPT), which predicts disease mortality; and iii) NAMPT-Gene, a genotyping assay that identifies individuals at increased risk for increased disease severity and. Based upon strong preclinical data and substantial funding from the National Institutes of Health ($10M), the eNamptorTM platform is also targeting ARDS, ventilator- and radiation-induced lung injury, chorioamnionitis, pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary and hepatic fibrosis (NASH), and autoimmune disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease and systemic lupus. These conditions all exhibit a significant unmet medical need with significant morbidity and mortality. For additional information about the company, please visit www.aqualungtherapeutics.com.
SOURCE: Aqualung Therapeutics